ENGLISH 325 - Art of the Essay
Section: 203
Term: SU 2010
Subject: English Language and Literature (ENGLISH)
Department: LSA English Language & Literature
Requirements & Distribution:
Waitlist Capacity:
Advisory Prerequisites:
Completion of the First-Year Writing Requirement.
Other Course Info:
F, W, Sp, Su.
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

The work of creative nonfiction gives us permission to, as the poet Emily Dickinson said, “tell the truth, but tell it slant.” This succinctly gets at the nature of this class: to develop non-fiction essays that unravel the truths of human experience using artistic elements of the creative craft to connect to our audience. Basically, our experience is the truth, and elements of craft are the slant. But underlying both craft and experience is the essayists engagement with complex interrogation. As essayists, we ultimately strive to explore the human condition through intense scrutiny of both our experience and our writing. Whether you write about your childhood or relive a road trip, tell the truth or slant it, every essay you compose for this class should necessitate a new discovery to arrive at a complex argument. Even things that might not seem mysterious should become mysterious through the essayist’s unremitting eye. Philip Lopate, the contemporary expert on the personal essay, taps into this paradox when he states, “Personal essayists are adept at interrogating their ignorance. Just as often as they tell us what they know, they ask at the beginning of an exploration of a problem what it is they don’t know—and why.”

Over the course of our the term, you will be expected to write three major essays along with many false starts, aimless lists, and other writing exercises. Though you will be required to draw mainly on personal experience to write the essays assigned in this class, we will explore a variety of essay types to understand the far-reaching possibilities of writing based on firsthand experience. In addition to memoir, we will read essays in the form of the epistolary, the meditation, the profile, the sketch, new journalism, and other more untraditional forms. Each essay you write will be shared with your peers in small group workshops and will need to go through a thorough revision process. Issues of style, tone, language, plotting, transitions, and integrating research will be common topics in this class, but the most important topic will be learning how to interrogate your experience using methods of logical analysis and complex argumentation.

ENGLISH 325 - Art of the Essay
Schedule Listing
201 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 6:00PM
Note: English 325 will be Permission of Instructor after the first day of class.
202 (SEM)
TuTh 11:00AM - 1:00PM
203 (SEM)
MW 4:00PM - 6:00PM
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