99年第2學期-0180 文討：文論：一種文學類型 課程資訊
|one short essay||20||Topic oriented|
|one long essay||30||Integrating more than one essay as part of a critical response|
|two reports based on these essays||40|
1. Gain knowledge of and explain the essay genre in terms of its historical development. The will do this in discussion, writings, presentations and research.
2. Comprehend the unique stylistic differences that distinguish the essay genre, and understand why and how these stylistic modes were developed in response to certain cultural and historical conditions and ways of thinking. The will do this in discussion, writings, presentations and research.
3. Analyze and explain the different ways that essayists use rhetoric and language to achieve particular effects regarding topic and audience. The will do this in discussion, writings, presentations and research.
4. Respond critically and analytically to the methods and strategies of various essayists, and to synthesize these approaches in their own essays on various topics. The will do this in discussion, writings, presentations and research.
Since its earliest inception by the French writer Michel de Montaigne, who first improved the genre in the 16th century, the essay has come to be a prolific and changeable form of intellectual and popular expression, on down to our present moment. We now find essays in popular magazines such as GQ, Harpers, and The New Yorker. Difficult to pin down in terms of a formal definition, the essay nevertheless has endured to become whatever it may need to be as an intellectual and a popular voice of public and personal expression and literary art. In 16th, 17th, and 18th century, England, essays were the dominant mode of critical discourse and public debate, with writers addressing everything from popular culture to literary tastes, from social practices to political alignments. Francis Bacon, Ben Jonson, and later Joseph Addison and Richard Steele sought to influence cultural tastes and public opinion through their carefully crafted essays. From this period onward, numerous famous writers from many nations have placed their unique stamp of expression on the essay, which now remains as a genre situated between popular and more academic styles. Essays now widely appear in college rhetoric textbooks, magazines, formal collections and even newspapers. The essay has morphed into a form capable of treating virtually any subject, yet it is not always well understood how this came to be. This course will examine the past, present and future of the essay, while giving students a historical and cultural background on the genre through examining various important examples by canonical writers, as well as more popular pieces drawn from various current sources.
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Robert Di Yanni, The Essay: An Introduction