The Craft of Writing the Personal Essay
01/28/2008 - 05/10/2008
Thursday 06:30 PM - 09:30 PM
Center for the Americas 3
In this course, we will focus on short narrative nonfiction, or the personal essay. Although such essays are often categorized by theme or genre--as memoir, say, or cultural criticism--those boundaries are not always hard and fast. One of the most famous essays in the English language, for example, Orwell's "Shooting the Elephant," is both straightforward memoir as well as a meditation on colonialism, cowardice, and alienation.
Readings will include both contemporary and classic essays, by writers such as James Baldwin, John Lahr, Edwidge Danticat, Richard Rodriguez, and Jo Ann Beard. In both our reading and writing, we will pay close attention to technique: how narratives are shaped by theme, structure, voice, and the use of dialogue and descriptive detail.
The goal of the course is to help students become more experienced and fluent writers. In addition to reading and discussing assigned essays, students will write an essay every week, read and discuss each other's work, and complete short writing exercises in class, as well as a longer final project based on their work over the semester.
Evaluations will be based on progress, class participation, and completion of assignments.
No special experience is required; all are welcome.
A syllabus for this course is available at:
Elizabeth Bobrick (B.A., Marlboro College; Ph.D., The Johns Hopkins University) has been visiting assistant professor in English, classical studies, and the College of Letters at Wesleyan University. She has also taught classical studies at the University of Missouri and the University of Virginia. Her work has appeared in Salon, Fiction, The Hartford Courtant, Wesleyan Magazine, Psychology Today, and other publications. Her most recent essay, "Oriole Magic," is forthcoming in the spring 2008 special issue of Creative Nonfiction.
Consent of Instructor Required: No
|Level: GLSP||Credits: 3||Enrollment Limit: 18|
Texts to purchase for this course:
Jo Ann Beard, THE BOYS OF MY YOUTH (Back Bay), Paperback
READING MATERIALS ARE AVAILABLE AT BROAD STREET BOOKS, 45 BROAD STREET, MIDDLETOWN, 860-685-7323 Order your books online
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