This section of 124 is designed to provide you with a rigorous introduction to writing insightful, clearly organized, graceful essays and also to editing your own and others’ work. The subject of your writing will be the readings that you will be doing for this course, but much of what you learn in our class will, I hope, be applicable to the writing you’ll be doing for many different purposes for many years to come.
At the center of our labors will be lots writing (on average you will be turning in about 1000 words of polished draft every other week, as well as doing many other kinds of less formal work). I will be evaluating your essays in my own comments, of course, but we will also spend many class periods workshopping your papers and parts of papers (e.g., theses, conclusions, paragraphs of analysis and argument). In other words, you will each be generating crucially important material for the course. We will be talking about your work in the classroom and in online modes of response that will be restricted to the members of the class.
We will be doing a LOT of sharing work-in-progress (much of it using Google docs). I hope you will leave the course better prepared not only to edit your own work but also to edit and comment usefully on other people’s writing. We’ll spend some time in class going over the ins and outs of using Google docs for academic work (and in peer-review settings), and there will be some instruction in the free research and source-management tool Zotero, as well.
, as well. You need not have any experience with either of these programs before starting this class.
In addition to your own writing, texts for the course are likely to include works by (click the authors' names for book ordering links) Virginia
, Elizabeth Bishop, and Louise Gluck. We will work extensively on the skills — intimately related to the act of writing — of close reading and careful analysis of prose and poetry. This will likely be one of the smaller classes you'll have at UM: come prepared for a seminar where all members are prepared and participating.
There will be information about editions for the text of this course (as well as other announcements) up on Ctools well before the start of the term.