ENGL 141 Spring 2014 Style (W)

In their classic writing guide, Elements of Style, Strunk and White demonstrate style by quoting two different descriptions of languor, one from Hemingway, one from Faulkner. This class will continue that experiment. We'll read a range of authors working in a mix of genres (poetry by Dickinson and Whitman, stories by James and Poe, and of course novels by Hemingway and Faulkner), and also consider popular music and film. We'll pit one artist against the other on the same subject as a way of trying to isolate the difference that style makes. What makes a style distinct? How do we know it when we see it? Can it be distilled to a formula, or is it the indissoluble expression of genius? We'll ask whether it makes sense to talk about a scale of style-not just better or worse, but more or less (reading Susan Sontag for guidance). And we'll tackle the challenge of trying to write about it. Students will turn to reviewers, both contemporary and late-great (critics like Pauline Kael and Lester Bangs), for inspiration, and learn to articulate the je ne sais quoi of what they deem great style.
Class Format: seminar
Requirements/Evaluation: active class participation, and at least 20 pages of writing divided across 4 essays
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Prerequisites: none
Enrollment Preference: first-year students who have not taken or placed out of a 100-level English course
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Divisional Attributes: Division I,Writing Intensive
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Enrollment Limit: 19
Expected Enrollment: 19
Class Number: 3659
ENGL141-02(S) SEM Style (W) Division 1: Languages and the ArtsWriting Intensive Ashley C. Barnes
TR 08:30 AM-09:45 AM Hopkins Hall 105 3659
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