Course Schedule (I will provide students with specific assigned readings prior to the class sessions where we will discuss them.):

Here is the link to our course’s Google Drive where you can access pdfs of assigned readings as well as all lecture/class preparation notes.

Unit 1—History of Writing for the Public (Weeks 1, 2, 3 & 4): Selected readings from the following eighteenth-century and nineteenth-century periodicals The Rambler, The London Magazine, The Literary Examiner, The Plain Speaker, The Spectator, The Idler,The Covent Garden Journal, The Examiner, The Edinburgh Review,The Connoisseur, The Bee, The Mirror,The Mist, and The Apollo, among others will be assigned and discussed. Additional readings from recent peer-reviewed articles and online, popular writing about public criticism and the public intellectual will also be assigned each week. 1 paragraph of imitation prose paragraphs along with ideas and preliminary research documents will be due in Weeks 2, 3, & 4. Lectures and course preparation notes will be provided to the students.

Unit 2—Practical Advice: Writing for The Public (Week 5): Selected readings from Telling True Storiesalong with additional recent scholarship on the ideology and style of popular writing for the public. Lecture and course preparation notes will be provided to the students.

Unit 3—Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries (Weeks 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 & 11): Selected readings from Virginia Woolf, Susan Sontag, Italo Calvino, Jonathan Franzen, Joan Didion, Alice Walker, Raymond Chandler, Maggie Nelson, Roxane Gay, Rebecca Solnit, Patricia Lockwood, Daniel Ortberg, and David Foster Wallace, among others that discusses contemporary as well as historical topics will be assigned and discussed. Additional readings from recent peer-reviewed articles and online, popular writing about public criticism and the public intellectual will also be assigned each week. Draft of public-facing essays due for 5 of the 6 weeks in this unit. Lectures and course preparation notes will be provided to the students.

Unit 4—Mini Practicum @the-rambling.com (Weeks 12 & 13): Review and discuss the pitches, editorial comments, and revisions undertaken at the-rambling.com as well as the editorial workflow, publication process, and social media engagement. Assigned readings include received pitches, received drafts, internal documentation, copyedited works, and drafted social media documents. Additionally, students will work directly with software and The Rambling’sweb platform to learn how to publish professional, high-quality, image-rich writing online for a broad, public audience. Lectures and course preparation notes will be provided to the students.

Unit 5—Workshops (Weeks 14 & 15): Students will workshop drafts of their public-facing essays in small groups and closely with the professor who will provide a reader’s report and line-edits for at least two drafts of each students’ essay as well as suggestions for possible venues the students might pitch. Students will review stylistic best practices. Additionally, instructor will guide students through the process of preparing their topics and conducting research for the final topic proposal with outline and bibliography assignment. Lectures and course preparation notes will be provided to the students.

Finals Week: Portfolio of Three Essays due with Pitches & Specified Venues
Topic Proposal with Outline and Bibliography due
Both documents are due by 5pm as Word attachments submitted via email

Week 1: Introductions
(please complete these assigned readings before our first class session)
Maciak and Loofbourow, “The Semipublic Intellectual”
Goldstein, “The New Intellectuals”
Looser, “The Making of a Public Intellectual”

Week 2: History of Writing for the Public I
1 paragraph of imitation prose due (250 words)
Ideas with preliminary research document 1 due
Johnson, “On Modern Romances” (from The Rambler)
Boswell, “On Past and Present” (from The London Magazine)
Hunt, “My Books” (from The Literary Examiner)
Hazlitt, “On Reading Old Books” (from The Plain Speaker)
Lamb, “Detached Thoughts on Books and Reading” (from The London Magazine)
Berube, “Profession, Revise Thyself – Again” (from PMLA)
Marcus, “How to Talk about Books You Have Read” (from PMLA)

Week 3: History of Writing for the Public II
1 paragraph of imitation prose due (250 words)
Ideas with preliminary research document 1 due
Addison, “On Taste” (from The Spectator)
Johnson, “On the Bugbear Style” (from The Idler)
Fielding, “On the Meaning of Common Words” (from The Covent Garden Journal)
Hunt, “On Common-Place People” (from The Examiner)
Hazlitt, “On Common-Place Critics” (from The Examiner)
Maccaulay, “Horace Walpole” (from The Edinburgh Review)
Hsu, “In the Context of Infinite Context” (from PMLA)
Cecire, “Everybody’s Authority” (from PMLA)

Week 4: History of Writing for the Public III
1 paragraph of imitation prose due (250 words)
Ideas with preliminary research document 1 due
Addison, “On Westminster Abbey” (from The Spectator)
Cowper, “On Being a Bachelor” (from The Connoisseur)
Johnson, “On Last Things” (from The Idler)
Boswell, “On Hypochondria” (from The London Magazine)
Hunt, “Of Sticks” (from The Examiner)
Mackenzie, “On Indolence” (from The Mirror)
Goldsmith, “The Sagacity of Some Insects” (from The Bee)
Kindley, “Growing Up in Public” (from PMLA)
Agate, “Make Revolution Irresistible” (from PMLA)

Week 5: Practical Advice: Writing for The Public
Selections from Telling True Stories:
From Part I: Halberstam, “The Narrative Idea”
From Part II: Kramer and Call, “Introduction;” DeGregory, “Finding Good Topics: A Writer’s Topics;” Winburn, “Finding Good Topics: An Editor’s Questions;”
From Part III: Kramer and Call, “Introduction;” Clark, “The Ladder of Abstraction;” Lopate, “The Personal Essay;” Brown, “First Person Singular;” Lepore, “Writing About History;” Greene, “Adventures in History”
Part IV: please read all of this section
Part V: please read all of this section

Week 6: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries I
Draft of Essay 1 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Woolf, “How It Strikes a Contemporary” (from The Common Reader, 1923)
Sontag, “Against Interpretation” (from Against Interpretation, 1966)
Explore the websites: publicbooks.org & themillions.com

Week 7: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries II
Draft of Essay 2 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Calvino, “Why We Read the Classics” (from The New York Review of Books, 1986)
Franzen, “Why Bother/Perchance to Dream” (from Harper’s, 1996)
Explore the websites: bookriot.com & electricliterature.com

Week 8: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries III
Draft of Essay 3 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Didion, “The White Album” (from New West, 1979)
Walker, “Looking for Zora” (from Ms., 1975)
Explore the websites: granta.com & theparisreview.org

Week 9: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries IV
Draft of Essay 4 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Chandler, “The Simple Art of Murder” (from The Atlantic, 1950)
Nelson, “Theatres of Cruelty” (from the LARB, 2011)
Explore the website: lareviewofbooks.org & avidly.lareviewofbooks.org

Week 10: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries V
Draft of Essay 5 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Gay, “The Whole World, Opened Up” (from The Rumpus, 2012)
Solnit, “Checking out the Parking Lot” (from The London Review of Books, 2004)
Explore the websites: lithub.com & therumpus.net

Week 11: Writing for the Public in the 20thand 21st Centuries VI
Draft of Essay 6 due (minimum: 1,000 words)
Lockwood, “Is it Work?” (from The Poetry Foundation, 2014)
Ortberg, “Goblin Market as I Understand It” (from The Toast, 2017)
Ortberg, “I’m Fairly Certain Keats Never Actually Read…” (from The Toast, 2016)
Wallace, “Tense Present” (from Harper’s, 2001)
Explore the websites: publicdomainreview.org & laphamsquarterly.org

Week 12: Mini Practicum @the-rambling.com I
Pitching & Revising
Note: Draft of Topic Proposal, Outline, & Bibliography due to Lake in Week 13
 

Week 13: Mini Practicum @the-rambling.com II
Editing & Publishing
Draft of Topic Proposal, Outline, & Bibliography due to Lake
Note: Begin revising your public-facing essays; first one due for workshop next week.

Week 14: Workshop for Essay 1
Please bring three hard copies of one of your public-facing essays to class for workshopping.
Note: Continue revising your public-facing essays; second one due for workshop next week.

Week 15: Workshop for Essay 2
Please bring three hard copies of a second public-facing essay to class for workshopping.

Finals Week:
Portfolio of Three Essays due with Pitches
Topic Proposal with Outline and Bibliography due
Both documents are due by 5pm as Word attachments submitted via email to lake.crystal@gmail.com

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