ENGL 257
The Personal Essay
Last Offered Fall 2023
Division I Writing Skills
This course is not offered in the current catalog

Class Details

The personal essay as a literary form includes a wide range of genres including literary journalism, creative nonfiction and the lyric essay. (Note the exclusion of “memoir” or “autobiography” in this list. This course is NOT a course in memoir or autobiography.) As a Gateway to the English major, this course we will focus on critical methods and analytical writing skills that will serve students who want to pursue more advanced work in the department. (Note: this is not a creative writing course.) We will consider the literary history of the personal essay from Montaigne to yesterday, attending primarily to writers from the 20th and 21st centuries, and from the U.S. The reading list may include: James Baldwin, James Agee, Annie Dillard, Audre Lorde, John McPhee, Joan Didion, Adrian NicholeLeBlanc, Jennifer S. Cheng, Anne Carson, Samuel Delaney, Maggie Nelson, Alexander Chee, Lydia Yuknavitch, Saidiya Hartman and Karen Green.
The Class: Format: seminar
Limit: 19
Expected: 19
Class#: 1826
Grading: no pass/fail option, yes fifth course option
Requirements/Evaluation: Evaluation will be based on class participation, peer editing, writing and revision, with special attention given to the student's engagement in every aspect of the writing process.
Prerequisites: a 100-level ENGL course, or a score of 5 on the AP English Literature exam, or a score of 6 or 7 on the Higher Level IB English exam, or permission of the instructor.
Enrollment Preferences: first- and second-year students, and English majors who have yet to take a Gateway course
Distributions: Division I Writing Skills
WS Notes: This course will demand weekly writing and critical responses, drafts and revisions of essays, as well as peer editing. There will be 4-5 essays required, for a total of approximately 25-30 pages. One-on-one meetings with the professor will be a regular feature.
Attributes: ENGL 200-level Gateway Courses

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