The Experimental Essay

Schools of Public Engagement: Writing Program

Liberal Arts

Undergraduate Course

Degree Students

The Experimental Essay

Fall 2020

Taught By: Robert Lopez

Section: A

CRN: 4095

Credits: 3

The experimental essay trespasses on poetry, fiction, and nonfiction. It evolves from trials, impulses, longings, and risks—often culminating in a form that is both surprising and inventive. It is a genre in which, as Emerson says, "everything is admissible, philosophy, ethics, divinity, criticism, poetry, humor, fun, mimicry, anecdotes, jokes, ventriloquism." We read a variety of experimental essays, spanning different time periods and cultures. Paying close attention to form as well as content, we study contemporary essayists including Susan Sontag, Anne Carson, Joe Wenderoth, and Annie Dillard. We also delve into the history of the essay by reading Seneca, Sei Shonagon, Montaigne, Pessoa, Barthes, and others. Students write several experimental essays, which are read and discussed in class. We also talk about experimental essays in the context of current literary publishing. Our aim is to discover how, because of its ability to engage with and mimic a variety of forms and genres, the essay is the most radical, experimental, comprehensive, and inventive, as well as the most forgiving, of the literary genres.

College: Schools of Public Engagement (NS)

Department: Writing Program (NWRW)

Campus: Online (DL)

Course Format: Seminar (R)

Max Enrollment: 12

Add/Drop Deadline: September 14, 2020 (Monday)

Online Withdrawal Deadline: November 22, 2020 (Sunday)

Seats Available: Yes

Status: Open*

*Status information is updated every five minutes. The status of this course may have changed since the last update. Open seats may have restrictions that will prevent some students from registering. Updated: 10:17pm 7/9/2020 EDT

Meeting Info:

Days: Thursday

Times: 4:00pm - 5:50pm

Building: TBD

Date Range: 9/3/2020 - 12/17/2020