ENGLISH 325 - Essay Writing: The Art of Exposition
Section: 201
Term: SU 2008
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
Completion of the First-Year Writing Requirement.
Other Course Info:
F, W, Sp, Su.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

“Try to be one of the people on whom nothing is lost!”

— Henry James

This course asks of you what James asks of you: to be curious about not only the world around you but also your interior world, and to make something of your curiosity on the page, for what we write down is never lost. All writing starts with a question or a hypothesis. You’ve had them—questions and hypotheses—haven’t you? Maybe it’s a family story that has several versions: what is being left out? Why? What really happened? Maybe you have a theory about why iPods are ruining our ability to appreciate music. How can you convince your reader? What examples, observations and evidence can you provide? Maybe you’ve always wondered whether you could get out of a locked trunk. What if you tried it? What might you learn? What could you pass along to the reader?

“All thought is a feat of association; having what’s in front of you bring up something in your mind that you almost didn’t know you knew.”

— Robert Frost

The worth of this course, you will discover, is not so much in the final grade as in our endeavor to pursue such questions and theories on the page with diligence, creativity and flourish, to explore an interior world filled with things, to quote Frost, “you almost didn’t know you knew.” As you can see, in this course we are moving beyond the skills you’ve mastered in lower level writing courses, pushing past literary analysis or position papers into the realm of creative non-fiction. While skills from your previous writing classes are certainly transferable — structure, developing organizing ideas, accuracy, economy or language, research — this class will pair these skills with new ones germane to the craft of creative non-fiction—narrative, description, emotional resonance, theme, etc. In so doing, you will engage with questions about people, places, ideas and objects, questions that may have been stirring inside you for some time now. But there are no easy answers. Bear in mind that as we explore questions on the page, the aim is to pursue truth, not so much to arrive at an absolute truth. The former intention acknowledges complexity and depth, a certain form of respect for the idea, whereas the latter more often than not ends up feeling didactic or forced. Yield to the complexity, check it out; readers respect this. After all, when a writer pursues a question or theory, it is often not so much to discover an absolute truth, but rather to move readers closer to a truth. The exploration has value; often the road is more the point of the journey than the destination.

ENGLISH 325 - Essay Writing: The Art of Exposition
Schedule Listing
201 (SEM)
MW 1:00PM - 3:00PM
Note: English 325 will be Permission of Instructor after the first day of class.
202 (SEM)
TuTh 11:00AM - 1:00PM
711 (SEM)
TuF 8:00AM - 5:00PM
Note: Registration through UMBS at: 763-4461, 2014 Nat Sci
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