Jessie Byron Ferguson
I began my doctoral studies at Stanford in 2007. Before that, I studied Central European literature and culture as an undergraduate at the University of Chicago, where I was also an enthusiastic (if not totally justifiable) member of the Women in Philosophy group. I then received my M.A. from San Francisco State University with a thesis on history and autofiction in three novels of the mid-1990s.
My work at Stanford focuses on the development of essayistic novels in Latin America and in German (not "in Germany," as many are Austrian or diasporic), in the context of their very different national/cultural traditions of philosophy and essayism. I am particularly interested in the relationship between authorship and fictional characters, and the tensions between commitment to authorship and commitment to fiction. Although my focus is on the modernist and early postmodern era, from roughly 1910 to 1965, these issues become increasingly salient as the 20th century draws to a close. I am also interested in the essay as form in world literature, and in methodological questions of how to approach and discuss nonfiction genres.
2007: M.A. Comparative and World Literature, San Francisco State University. Additional coursework at the University of California-Berkeley and Freie Universität Berlin (2006). Thesis: "The Archimedean Author: W.G. Sebald, Roberto Bolaño, and Narrative After Borges."
2002: B.A. General Studies in the Humanities, University of Chicago. Emphasis on East-Central European literature and culture.