Revising the Essay: Intellectual Arenas and Hybrid Forms

Revising the Essay: Intellectual Arenas and Hybrid Forms

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This dissertation charts the theoretical, pedagogical, and rhetorical possibilities of the essay in order to argue for essay writing as a central intellectual pursuit within the university. Although the term qessayq has often functioned as a placeholder for many types of writing and has been used to promote narrow, sometimes formulaic, writing, I articulate the ways that the essay illustrates thinking on the page and fosters genuine intellectual activity. This study thereby enriches theoretical scholarship on the essay, offers pedagogies that support critical essay-writing, and contends that we imagine both students and scholars as connected through the shared qintellectual arenaq the essay creates. I coin the term qessayistic impetusq - an epistemological drive toward critical and reflexive knowledge via thinking in and through writing - to define the essay's guiding principle. The theory of the essay I construct spans several types of materials, all of which have been under-theorized within scholarship on the essay in composition studies: theories of essayistic prose authored by Theodor Adorno and M.M. Bakhtin; new critical textbooks by Cleanth Brooks and Robert Penn Warren; the hybrid prose essays of Joan Didion and Gloria Anzaldua; the photographic essay After the Last Sky co-authored by Edward Said and Jean Mohr; and, finally, essay films by Chris Marker and Wong Kar-wai. The later chapters of the dissertation focus specifically on hybrid essays - essays which draw on multiple genres and discourses, formal structures, and media. I argue that hybrid essays offer a particularly fruitful understanding of the essay, its goals, and its intellectual possibilities. Since hybrid essays present a range of rhetorical strategies and styles of writing, they can assist students in strengthening their repertoires as both readers and writers capable of sustaining complex, dialogic, reflexive inquiries and projects. Reading and writing hybrid essays, I contend, aids students in developing greater generic, stylistic, and rhetorical awareness, strategies which they can then effectively deploy for their own diverse purposes. Finally, I argue that hybrid essays can serve as a productive heuristic for better confronting and understanding the literacy demands that complex, emerging new media forms demand.Table 2: Comparison of Third and Fourth Editions, Modern Rhetoric Moreover, the short sample papers are presented as ... is the extended discussion, the tracing of Susana#39;s writing and revision process, and the reflective apparatus questions.

Title:Revising the Essay: Intellectual Arenas and Hybrid Forms
Publisher:ProQuest - 2008


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