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HUMSS Colloquium with Jacob Sider Jost

 Dr. Jacob Sider Jost
Dickinson College Carlisle
Literature Studies
Recorded on June 8, 2020

How do you tell the story of a life?

I will introduce the scholarly field of life-writing, using examples from across time but focusing on the British eighteenth century.  Life-writing is the study of texts (including biographies, autobiographies, and diaries--but also hagiographies, CVs, social media profiles, and film documentaries) that describe and narrate human lives.  My examples will include many of the key figures of eighteenth-century British literary culture, including Jonathan Swift, Samuel Johnson, James Boswell, and Edward Gibbon, and I will be guided by two key questions: how do new genres and technologies change the way we tell our life stories, and how do shifts in culture and ideas find expression in new kinds of life writing?