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Notes on reading- The Age of the Essay

August 26, 2013 by oliviapaterson   

  • Questions aren’t enough. An essay has to come up with answers. They don’t always, of course. Sometimes you start with a promising question and get nowhere. But those you don’t publish. Those are like experiments that get inconclusive results. An essay you publish ought to tell the reader something he didn’t already know.”
  • Remember the essays you had to write in high school? Topic sentence, introductory paragraph, supporting paragraphs, conclusion. The conclusion being, say, that Ahab in Moby Dick was a Christ-like figure.
  • “Oy. So I’m going to try to give the other side of the story: what an essay really is, and how you write one. Or at least, how I write one.”
  • Metaphor of the river, the philosophy of writing.
  • Bolter- writing as a technology- hypertext is another way for writing to develop especially when linking.
  • Should we be analysing things that are more current apposed to classical literature? We need to do things that are ‘more valuable and worthwhile’
  • Writing an essay can help formulate your own ideas- however does the topic allow you to formulate your idea, to develop. Is the topic sentence merely a starting point that leads you to other more profound ideas and theories? i.e. river metaphor, allowing your thoughts to meander.
  • Is that a real essay? What allows it to say that it is real and others are not? It’s a different essay; there are many types of essay so that does not necessarily mean that it is real.


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