Instructor: Rod Spellman
Office Hours: Mon, Wed 12-1, Tue. and Thur. 11-12 or by appointment
Office: 137 McIver Office Phone: 334-5867
Department Phone: 334-5311 Mailbox: 133 McIver
The essay genre is a valuable literary form for aspiring writers. It has an openness that allows for free use of imagination, but has a strong enough concept of specific audience to give it boundaries. It is at times the most personal, the most political, or the most profound mode of literary writing. In this course, we will define the essay genre and examine the ways it intersects other genres. We will read and discuss various writers and their essay styles. Our examination of these essays will go beyond the topic of the piece to examine its rhetoric and style and the reasons behind those choices.
From reading essays, we will move to writing them. The best way to improve writing skill is to practice, and to that end, we will be doing a great deal of writing. Though we will discuss the “types” of essays, you will not be specifically bound to specific forms. You will be responsible for generating your own topics for your essays, and I hope you will choose those that best suit your own interests and needs as a writer, while always keeping in mind the broader audience.
Elbow and Belanoff, Sharing and Responding
Atwan, ed. Best American Essays, college edition
Regular attendance and class participation
3-4 essays (revised) by the end of the semester in portfolio form
Daily Journal (at least 5 entries per week)
Other assignments as announced
Grades will be determined by your dedication to the course, the quality of the writing you produce, your attempts to help your fellow writers, your improvement over the semester, your participation in class discussions, and your attitude.
By this point in your lives, I hope you already know how to be respectful of others. Unrepentant disrespect will be met with swift ejection from the class session, and possibly from the course. There are many ways to disagree with ideas without being a disagreeable person.
All class sessions are mandatory. Excused absences are entirely at my discretion. You should be in class and on time every class session.
Plagiarism is the gravest of sins in writing. Using another’s words as your own, whether intentional or unintentional, constitutes plagiarism and will be dealt with in the severest manner possible. When in doubt, cite.
Assignments and Readings:
This course will, in large part, be directed by committee. While the first few weeks will follow a schedule that I set out, the rest of the semester’s agenda will be decided as a class. Your own essays will have due dates, but all revisions can be returned to me whenever you wish for additional comments or discussion. It is important for you to be self-motivated in this class, and to want to be an active essayist and discusser of essays. A half-hearted attitude invariably creates half-hearted performances.
Students with Disabilities:
If you have any sort of disability that could affect your performance in the class or for which you need accommodation, please contact me and/or the office of Disability Services at 334-5440