This scriptorium, a “place for writing,” will function as a class for bilingual or multilingual writers interested in improving their essay-writing skills. We will read to write and write to read, following the originator of the form, Montaigne. Much of our time will be occupied with writing and revising—essai means “trial” or “attempt”—as we work to create new habits and strategies for our analytical writing. As we practice various essay structures with the aim of developing a persuasive, well-supported thesis, we will also revise collaboratively, improve our research skills, and study grammar, usage, and style—paying attention to the strengths and challenges which arise out of thinking and writing in two or more languages. In our study of the form of the academic essay, our aim is to learn to write with complexity, imagination, and clarity. Our theme will be writing about place, so we’ll read model examples in form and content, which may include texts by Zora Neale Hurston, Henry David Thoreau, W.E.B. DuBois, Sei Shōnagon, bell hooks, Seneca, Jane Tompkins, Roland Barthes, Virginia Woolf, Jamaica Kincaid, Jorge Luis Borges, Walter Benjamin. Jun’ichirō Tanizaki, Susan Sontag.
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