David Foster Wallace’s CNF Syllabus

September 4, 2015 § 2 Comments


David Foster Wallace world copyright Giovanni Giovannetti/effigie

Also a noted bandana-wearer.

Ah, David Foster Wallace. The teacher we either wish desperately we had or are heartily thankful we didn’t. And a kickass syllabus writer, too.  For instance:

…the adjective creative signifies that some goal(s) other than sheer truthfulness motivates the writer and informs her work. This creative goal, broadly stated, may be to interest readers, or to instruct them, or to entertain them, to move or persuade, to edify, to redeem, to amuse, to get readers to look more closely at or think more deeply about something that’s worth their attention. . . or some combination(s) of these. Creative also suggests that this kind of nonfiction tends to bear traces of its own artificing; the essay’s author usually wants us to see and understand her as the text’s maker. This does not, however, mean that an essayist’s main goal is simply to “share” or “express herself” or whatever feel-good term you might have got taught in high school. In the grown-up world, creative nonfiction is not expressive writing but rather communicative writing. And an axiom of communicative writing is that the reader does not automatically care about you (the writer), nor does she find you fascinating as a person, nor does she feel a deep natural interest in the same things that interest you. The reader, in fact, will feel about you, your subject, and your essay only what your written words themselves induce her to feel.

Check out the whole thing–and wonder what grade you might have gotten on the scale of “Mind-blowingly good” to “Downright bad”–over at Salon.

Tagged: , , ,

§ 2 Responses to David Foster Wallace’s CNF Syllabus

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

What’s this?

You are currently reading David Foster Wallace’s CNF Syllabus at BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog.

meta

%d bloggers like this: