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|ENGL 452 - Adv. Essay-Writing Workshop|
This workshop is designed for those with a genuine interest in studying and crafting longform nonfiction. While all nonfiction writers submit facts to the resources of language, it sometimes seems that the best writers of literary nonfiction—essayists such as Didion, Baldwin, and McPhee, for example—shape their language under the pressure of facts. The course will offer exercises in critical elements of nonfiction writing—close observation, description, voice, tone, story--as well as the opportunity to do extended research and writing on a subject that interests you.
One subject that will necessarily interest all of us is the question of what it means to define an essay as “longform.” Together, we’ll try to unpack that term, moving beyond physical attributes of page numbers and weight to consider what digital media scholar Alan Liu describes as sustained “forms of attention” (2014).
Following in the exploratory tradition of Michel de Montaigne’s first edition of his Essais in 1580, the contemporary essay offers an ongoing experiment in form, experimenting with the possibilities of that protean genre as it stretches, twists, and blends with other genres and forms: memoir, journalistic features, lyrical and braided essays.
While the course will include a sampling of contemporary essays and essayists, the workshop will focus on writing produced by the class. Workshop sessions will engage participants as both writers and close, critical readers.
*It is recommended that students will have completed at least one introductory level creative writing course before enrolling in the advanced workshop.
3.000 Credit hours
3.000 Lecture hours
Levels: MN or MC Graduate, Undergraduate
Schedule Types: Lecture, Seminar
Mean Grade is Calculated