EDEN 539: The Contemporary American Essay

Dr. Stephen York

EDEN 539: The Contemporary American Essay

A Guided Independent Study - Open Enrollment


Course Description:                                                                  4.5 CEUs

The essay is considered through the lens of classical and contemporary
American writers such as Joan Didion, Wendell Berry, James Baldwin, Jesmyn Ward, Annie Dillard, E. B; White, among others. Through extensive reading and reflection, students will understand the various elements of the American essay and historical perspectives of the genre. They will learn how to read and write about essays, experience critical approaches to the genre, and master literary terms and concepts.  The study also considers authors’ lives and the socio-cultural-political influences on their work.

Course Objectives:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will be able to:

*  Identify authors of contemporary American essays.

*  Articulate the connections between the American essay, geography
of place, and community building.

*  Connect the socio-cultural-political influences on the lives and work
of notable American essayists.

*  Demonstrate a mastery of literary terms and concepts.


Materials Required:

The reading list will be negotiated with each student.