This writing course focuses on the creation of complex, analytic, well-supported arguments that matter in academic contexts. Students work closely with their peers and the instructor to develop their written prose. Readings cover a variety of different genres, with a primary focus on literary texts.
T.S. Eliot famously claimed that literature of the modern era was defined by its separation of thought and feeling, thus suggesting that two types of writing existed: that which articulated intellectual ideas and that which expressed emotions. As a model for his own writing, Eliot looked backward to a previous era in which he felt that literature united thoughts and emotions in the same texts. While we may or may not agree with Eliot’s assessment of literary history, we will consider questions about writing that arise from such a claim. For example, how do authors turn thought or feeling into writing?
As we read some of the world’s best writers, we will examine the ways in which they use language to create works of literature that communicate either complex processes of thought or complicated emotional states. We will also ask how a piece of literary writing balances the demands of rigorous intellectual argument while still appealing to human emotion. How do these demands work differently in different literary genres?
For instance, can a poem describe anger in a way that a short story cannot?
In the writing assignments for this course, you will be asked to write essays of your own that are appealing both on an intellectual and emotional level. Just as the authors we will read use their talent to illuminate certain aspects of the human experience, you will be asked to write essays that both demonstrate your critical thinking abilities and persuade your audience to care about your argument.