ENGL488D - Topics in Advanced Writing: Writing Studies--Theory and Practice

This course is aimed at students interested in Writing and Rhetoric, or students wanting to improve their writing. We will read theories from the tradition of rhetoric (Aristotle, Plato, Corbett) and from contemporary composition studies (Flower, Murray, Lunsford). We will talk about composition as public speaking, as conversation or letter-writing, as process, as audience-centered, as entering a social community. We will try out and practice the techniques advocated in the theories in 9 weekly short (1-2 pp.) essays, as well as in reading journals. We will also practice composition at sentence level through two approaches: stylistics, and sentence combining. We will have workshops to help revise and edit. In the final weeks of class, each student will teach a portion of a class on a composition theory we didn't study, and will write a final long paper: an evaluation of what the student has learned and what works best for their own writing. This will be a discussion and workshop class, with almost no lecture. Requirements will include: 1. weekly 1-2 page essays 2. a journal on readings (1 p. an assignment) 3. frequent sentence exercises 4. a final oral report on a composition theory not studied 5. a final evaluative essay on composition studies (7-10 pp.)