Course No.

HUM 120


Reading and Writing the Personal Essay


Susan Rogers


Wed 1:30 pm - 3:50 pm HEG 300

This course will involve equal parts reading and writing and is for students who want to develop their creative writing, and their analytic thinking. Readings will be taken from Philip Lopate's The Art of the Personal Essay, which traces the long tradition of the personal essay from Seneca, through Montaigne (the father of the personal essay) to contemporary stylists such as Richard Rodriguez and Joan Didion. The personal essay is an informal essay that begins in the details of every day life and expands to a larger idea (the assumption is that there is a certain unity to human experience). Emphasis will be placed on reading closely as writers for the craft of the work: how scenes and characters are developed, how dialog can be used, how the form can fracture from linear narrative to the collage. Student's work - three essays - will be critiqued in a workshop format. This course is for students with experience in writing workshops, fiction writers and poets who want to explore another genre, and writers who enjoy expressing ideas through the lens of personal experience. Those who bring knowledge and learning from other disciplines are encouraged to apply. Candidates must submit samples of their work via campus mail to Susan Rogers by Friday, May 10th. Names of those accepted into the course will be posted on the office door (Fairbairn 205) on Monday, May 13th.