The Essay

Richard E. Miller

The Essay 353:491
MU 305 MTH 1

What is an essay? What is it for? What role does research play in writing an essay? Creativity? This senior seminar is meant to provide you with the opportunity to reflect on the form and function of the kind of writing students majoring in the humanities are most often required to produce in school. The first half of the course will be spent exploring the different kinds of thought that the genre of the essay both supports and makes possible; the second half of the course will be run as a writing-intensive workshop culminating in the completion of a research-based, meditative essay on a self-selected topic.

Required Text:

Elaine Scarry's On Beauty and Being Just, Princeton UP, 2001.
Essay packet: to be distributed in class. ($10)


  • Regular class attendance, with regular on time arrival.
    (Note: this seminar begins at 8:10.)

  • Regular class participation.

  • Two in-class presentations:one on one of the assigned readings;
    one on your research project.

  • Two 5-7 page essays.

  • One 15-20 page research essay.

How to contact me:

My office is located in Murray Hall, Room 105.

To set up an appointment to meet with me, please call 932-7571. Make certain to tell my secretary that you're a student in this course: she will schedule you right in.

You may also write directly to me at: <>.

Please make a practice of visiting my homepage regularly to check for changes in the syllabus and to find copies of all class handouts:

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