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ERIC Number: ED399536
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996-Mar
Pages: 13
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
Prudes and Conservatives; or, Everybody Does It but Literature Teachers: Creative Writing Assignments.
Crimmel, Hal
At the State University of New York at Albany, a controversy arose over what type of writing assignment is appropriate in introductory literature classes, particularly those taught by graduate students. Undergraduates applying for the honors division were unable to produce even one literary criticism essay despite 9 hours of literature courses taken. The assumption was that creative writing assignments serve a lesser purpose and require less in the way of critical analysis. If in fact the "lit-crit" paper is superior to the creative paper, what is it that it possesses? "The Norton Introduction to Literature" asks students to cite evidence and "so forth" in their literary criticism essays, to consider tone, "thesis" and "central thrust." Excerpts from a model lit crit essay the Norton provides share many virtues with excerpts from a creative literary essay written by a student. Each seems aware of focus, organization and central thrust. It is hard not to wonder, however, whether constructed defenses of the creative approach such as this are honest. Perhaps the real reason an instructor chooses a certain approach is because he/she likes it. Could it be that there is something disingenuous about claiming a certain critical approach is more "accurate," more "responsible," more "scholarly," or more "intellectual." Are these words not smoke screens for the instructor's desires? Admitting the genres have much in common might be a way to compromise. (Contains 13 references.) (TB)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A