This class takes up the essay. We focus on 20th and 21st century writers, putting special emphasis on women writing. To that end, we begin with the presumption that Joan Didion and Janet Malcolm are two of the greatest living working American essayists. Other authors are likely to include Hilton Als, Rachel Kushner, David Shields, Rebecca Solnit, Susan Sontag, Namwali Serpell, Zadie Smith. And Adorno.
Evaluation is based on a midterm and final in which you have to identify passages by author and title; structured response papers keyed toward close reading; and informed classroom participation. Creative writers are encouraged to enroll.