By Sarah Allen
Views ON WRITING | sequence Editor, SUSAN H. MCLEOD | past ARGUMENT: ESSAYING AS a convention OF (EX)CHANGE deals an in-depth exam of ways present methods of considering the writer-page relation in own essays might be reconceived in accordance with practices within the "care of the self" - an ethic wherein writers equivalent to Seneca, Montaigne, and Nietzsche lived. This technique can provide to revitalize the shape and tackle a number of the issues expressed via essay students and writers in regards to the loss of rigorous exploration we see in our scholars' own essays - and infrequently, even, in our personal. In pursuing this process, Sarah Allen offers a model of subjectivity that permits efficient debate within the essay, between essays, and past. | SARAH ALLEN is affiliate Professor within the English division on the college of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO, the place she serves as a Rhetoric and Composition pupil and instructor. Her paintings has been released in Rhetoric evaluate and in academic Philosophy and conception; she additionally has e-book chapters in Writing areas: Readings on Writing (Parlor Press) and in examine Writing Revisited: A Sourcebook for academics (Heinemann). Her scholarship ordinarily explores the ethics of the private essay, and this paintings informs her educating, as she works to find the main necessary and potent methods of supporting scholars in enticing with tricky, dense fabric and in producing complicated, rigorous writings in their personal.
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Extra info for Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change
The question, thus, emerges: why, then, is the personal essay failing to be reflective/meditative enough, when practiced by our students? Part of the problem with the personal essay’s life in the academy is, no doubt, due to the emphasis on argument that is manifest in writing curricula, as well as in informal, public, and professional conversations. Students have inherited this obsession with argument, though they are, ironically, quick to recognize the damage that arguing-to-win causes. They know that our political “debates” are flighty and impotent, save in further dividing peoples.
Perhaps most importantly, couldn’t the personal essay repair the schisms that occur between people because of the social categories and rigid beliefs that make up our subject positions? Of course, this opportunity, if personal essay advocates were to embrace it, will require of us quite a lot of work. 2 For example, Wendy Bishop points out repeatedly in “Suddenly Sexy” that we, quite simply, don’t know what creative nonfiction is (and thus, what the personal essay is). All we know for sure is that it can be a wonder-full, empowering form or that it can be responsible for unreflective, solipsistic, “confessional” ranting.
In another ironic and terrible twist, though, they also don’t see much value in the form of argument that we, teachers of writing, offer them. I think that even the least savvy student recognizes that the standard college English paper taught and produced in a first-year writing course, for example, wouldn’t have any real persuasive power outside of that course (in fact, it doesn’t have any persuasive power in the course, since papers are produced by students to demonstrate skill, not to actually persuade the reader of a position).
Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change by Sarah Allen