Freshman Composition as a Window into College Prep

Freshman composition evolved from Harvard’s English 8—a course in which students read “great literature” and applied New Critical methods to analyze it. The course focused on close reading, Literature appreciation, and argument—though the last in only a very narrow sense, since it was argument restricted to the terms set forth in the piece of literature. The …

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Your Third Castling

I For isn’t, indeed, Stephen Daedalus himself castled by Leopold Bloom? And Bloom then castled by…Molly? And on and on? A cursory search of the internets leads me to believe the Fritz Cramer who provides the epigram for Lars Gustaffson’s “Stories of Happy People” might not exist. That sentence itself was thrice castled, in terms …

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Christening a New Fallacy

If you’re a teacher of rhetoric, as I am, one of the skills you’d like your students to have is the ability to identify an argumentative fallacy so they can critique other arguments and also avoid fallacies in their own writing. There’s a standard list of fallacies you can use, and our culture seems to …

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Learning Curves

How Differential Calculus and Reading Employ the Same Skill We build too many walls and not enough bridges. -Sir Isaac Newton It’s fairly widely known, and confirmed in an old NFL Films piece, that former Pittsburgh Steeler Lynn Swan studied ballet in the off-season. I’m sure some of his teammates who spent their free months …

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