ERIC Number: ED318023
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1990-Mar-22
On Being in the Same Boat: A History of Creative Writing and Composition Writing in American Universities.
Creative writers have moved into the mainstream of English departments without understanding or reviewing their own history, and without reconceptualizing graduate and undergraduate creative writing programs. Such a history can be constructed from sources in three areas: institutional history, creative writing history, and rhetorical history. An institutional history of English studies outlines the displacement of the classical education with the philological, linguistic study of English, changes in the undergraduate population, the narrowing conception of what literature includes, and the stratification of literature and composition within English departments. The development of creative writing courses at the University of Iowa provides the archetypal story of the development of creative writing within the discipline of English studies. It also demonstrates the widespread perception that teaching is an unnecessary area of concern for graduate writing programs, since writers (in this view) can be nurtured but not really taught. In the 1960s, current-traditional rhetoric was challenged by subjective theories of instruction not dissimilar to those promulgated in graduate creative writing workshops. The history of writing instruction in America makes it clear that writing instruction has lived an artificially divided life within English studies. Lively controversies afoot in English departments (regarding literary theory and practice, feminist and Marxist critiques of English studies, and composition research and theory) should inform the work of teachers of creative writing. (A six-page appendix lists resources for teaching creative writing.) (SR)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Associated Writing Programs (Denver, CO, March 22, 1990).