J298 The I’s Have It: Writing and Reading the Personal Essay

There are few literary forms quite as flexible as the personal essay. For the journalist, the essay form offers the rare freedom to combine any number of different narrative tools, including memoir, reportage, history, political argument, anecdote, and reflection. In this advanced writing workshop, we will read essays beginning with Montaigne, who more or less invented the form, to Emerson and Thoreau, who Americanized it, and then onto a selection of their descendants, including George Orwell, E.B. White, Susan Sontag, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace and Rebecca Solnit. We will draft and revise essays of our own in a variety of lengths and types, and write pastiches of others. A central aim of the course will be to help you develop a voice on the page and learn how to deploy the first person — not merely for self-exposure but as a tool for telling a story, conducting an inquiry or pressing an argument.




Time:  M 3:00 - 6:00

Location:  108 North Gate (Lower News)

Class Number:  28753

Section:  8

Units:  3


Course Material Fee:  

Enroll Limit:  12

Restrictions & Prerequisites

Priority enrollment will be as follows: Second year writing students, first year writing students, second year students, first year students. To be considered for the course, add your name to the waiting list by November 5. The waiting list will be processed (based on priority) on November 6.