Self-Help Literature (ENG 3402: Topics in Literature)

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Self-Help Literature (ENG 3402: Topics in Literature)
This Course is OPEN.
Professor(s)
Department
English
Course Code
3402
Semester / Year
Spring 2021
Course Description

Do you dream of having more happiness, success, or love? Of getting better grades, jobs, relationships, or sleep? If so, you are not alone! Countless people want more from their lives and from others, and they turn to self-help to make their dreams reality. Some doctors even prescribe self-help books for their patients! What is this obsession with self-help? What does it offer us? Why do we keep reading it?

This course is an introduction to “the American love affair with self-help” through its literature, industry, benefits, and critiques. Though self-help is often dismissed as providing low-brow, quack remedies for the masses, this course considers it in earnest, exploring what makes the genre so compelling, and why and how self-help matters, to individuals and societies. Students will read self-help texts; try their techniques; reflect on their methods, effectiveness, promises, and problems; and create their own self-help texts for others.

“This course explores a specific idea or theme in English-language literature. Discussion and analysis of texts related to the course topic. Topics change each semester and have included humor, vampires and zombies, transnationalism and homesickness, utopias and dystopias, culture and identity, and graphic novels.”

*Avatar Credit: Belli, Jill. “Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.” 2020. Photograph. New York, New York.

Recent Posts

Does Self Help = Self Inadequacy ?

I love the idea of self-help and a lot of the ideas the genre as a whole presents. But with that […] See MoreDoes Self Help = Self Inadequacy ?

Class notes Tuesday April 20th 2021

We first discussed who will be presenting in order of first second and so on. The order […] See MoreClass notes Tuesday April 20th 2021

People’s Choice #8: Self-Help Critiques

For this week’s People’s Choice, you’ll be reading class blogs on your individual research of Sel […] See MorePeople’s Choice #8: Self-Help Critiques

Recent Comments

My People's Choice goes to Anil for his post titled, “Finding y […] See More

Thanks all for these posts, and we had a ton of posts in the mix this week. Congrats to Reem & […] See More

https://openlab.citytech.cuny.edu/belli-sp2021-eng3402/2021/04/13/mindfulness-and-the-critiques/ […] See More