Writing an American Self: Benjamin Franklin’s Autobiography

Programs for Teachers
Newberry Teachers' Consortium
Thursday, November 6, 2008

In this seminar, participants will examine ways in which Benjamin Franklin crafted an identity through the recollecting and writing of his life and founded the concept of the self-made man.  Participants will also discuss how, in Franklin’s text, the genre of spiritual autobiography, which stems from St. Augustine’s /Confessions/ and runs through American Puritan writings such as Jonathan Edwards’s memoir, takes a decidedly Enlightenment turn.  And participants will consider how private self and public persona function in the context of an emerging national culture.

Seminar led by Lawrence Howe, Roosevelt University

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