Lee/Readings in Creative Nonfiction—“The Personal Essay: Ways of Seeing”
Presentation Guidelines and Goals
Once during the semester, you and three of your classmates will be responsible for presenting biographical and critical material on one writer, as well as for initiating class discussion by presenting a reading of one or two of the writer’s essays. We will meet the week before your presentation to discuss your group’s approach.
- One member will present insights gathered from at least two published interviews with the writer. At least one of these interviews must directly concern the particular book we are reading. The goal of this segment will be to give the class a sense of the writer’s philosophy and approach.
- One member will present insights gathered from at least two critical articles. While reviews in popular magazines (People, Elle, Time) may prove interesting, your primary sources should be literary journals and magazines: The New York Times, Harpers, The New York Review of Books, Atlantic Monthly. The goal of this segment will be to provide the class with illuminating critical insights.
- Two members will present a reading of the essays, followed by one or two pointed questions to spark class discussion. Taking into account our weekly theme—for example, the observer in nature; the writer as anthropologist—you may compose a collaborative reading or present independent, though coordinated, takes on one or two essays of your choice. The goal of this segment will be to notice important features of the writing and to initiate a lively class discussion.
Each presenter should include a bibliography of sources, along with a brief outline or summary of the presentation. Interview and critical material should be delivered extemporaneously. Your group will have 30 minutes, so please time yourselves and coordinate your individual presentations accordingly.
Criteria for Evaluation
Presentations will comprise 20% of your grade for the course. Each presenter will receive both an individual and a group grade, to be averaged.
- Interview presentation provides insight into the writer’s philosophy and process. Presenter makes connections between the essays and the writer’s view of her own work.
- Critical material focuses on one or two particularly interesting issues. Presenter uses critical material to pose substantive questions about the essays.
- Readings offer a nuanced look at the essays, with particular attention paid to the writer’s approach. Presenters help further our inquiry into the course theme “Memoir and the Personal Essay: Ways of Seeing”
- Presentations are coordinated to complement and/or build upon one another.