RCCORE 100 - First Year Seminar
Section: 005 The Personal Essay
Term: FA 2017
Subject: RC Core Courses (RCCORE)
Department: LSA Residential College
Credits:
4
Requirements & Distribution:
FYWR
Consent:
With permission of instructor.
Advisory Prerequisites:
SWC Writing Assessment. Only first-year students, including those with sophomore standing, may pre-register for First-Year Seminars. All others need permission of instructor.
Repeatability:
May not be repeated for credit.
Primary Instructor:

One of the most engaging and accessible of literary forms, the personal essay is known for its intimacy and charm, its insights and wit, and its broad—some would say infinite—range of styles and subjects. Forget the five-paragraph form you learned in high school, the teachers who told you never to use “I,” the naysayers who insist nonfiction is dull: this is creative writing at its best. What can you say in a personal essay? Michel de Montaigne, the first great practitioner of the form, would answer: everything. “Every man has within himself the entire human condition,” Montaigne wrote. The prolific contemporary essayist Joseph Epstein has said, “Whatever the ostensible subject of a personal essay, at bottom the true subject is the author of the essay.”

In this seminar we’ll examine both historical and contemporary essays with an eye toward defining the purpose, technique, and scope of the personal essay. We’ll trace the evolution of the form, from Montaigne through Virginia Woolf and Mark Twain to such superb 20th- and 21st-century essayists as Annie Dillard, James Baldwin, Jonathan Franzen, and Margaret Atwood. Drawing on work by these and other writers, we’ll identify those components critical to successful essay-writing: graphic details, telling quotations, powerful images and anecdotes, a compelling point of view, a strong sense of story. Above all, we’ll explore the essay as a means of deep personal discovery. This course is designed to give students a great deal of leeway in choosing essay topics and forms, and should be especially useful to potential creative-writing majors.

RCCORE 100 - First Year Seminar
Schedule Listing
001 (SEM)
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13698
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TuTh 3:00PM - 5:00PM
003 (SEM)
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23146
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TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
004 (SEM)
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24195
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1RC Ugrd
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TuTh 8:30AM - 10:00AM
005 (SEM)
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23151
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MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
006 (SEM)
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24197
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TuTh 2:30PM - 4:00PM
008 (SEM)
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15679
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MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
009 (SEM)
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23152
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TuTh 2:00PM - 4:00PM
010 (SEM)
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18862
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TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
011 (SEM)
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17484
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TuTh 4:00PM - 5:30PM
012 (SEM)
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16881
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MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
013 (SEM)
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20903
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MW 11:30AM - 1:00PM
014 (SEM)
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27851
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MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
015 (SEM)
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27852
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MW 4:00PM - 5:30PM
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