From Montaigne to Sedaris: The Essay Goes to France - WRIT 3980
This is not your high school essay assignment.
In 1571, a Frenchman, who was surrounded by war, plagued by plagues, and in a near constant state of danger and death, quite his day job and secreted himself away in a tower to write. He spent the rest of his life there, perfecting the form he created in those years. He called this new style of writing an essay. The name comes from the French “essayer” and it means, “to attempt,” “to try.” This writer, Michel de Montaigne, coined the term to describe the kind of writing that asked questions, explored the unknown and celebrated the power of uncertainty and openness at a time when most people only valued certitude and inflexibility. Since then, Montaigne has come to be known as The Father of the Modern Essay - what many people now call Creative Nonfiction.
This course, like Montaigne’s writing, will essay its way through France. We will visit the sites where some of the world’s greatest essayists (James Baldwin, Gertrude Stein, Chris Marker, Michel de Montaigne and others) lived and wrote, and we will live and write as well, asking what it means to essay here, now, walking through Montmartre, exploring the Louvre, trying a new cheese after visiting the Le Musée du Cinéma, and before we catch the train for the prehistoric caves of Font-de-Guame and on to the culinary scene of Lyon. The writing we will do will be generative and reflective, and there will be a variety of opportunities to experiment with essay forms such as food writing, travel writing, film criticism, personal essay, lyric essay and more.
About the Professor:
Angela Pelster’s most recent book Limber won the GLCA New Writer Award in Nonfiction, and was a finalist for the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel award for the art of the essay. Her work has appeared in multiple literary magazines and has been nominated for a Pushcart as well as named a Notable Essay in the Best American Essays 2013. She collaborated with her husband Richard Wiebe on War Prayer, an essay film that won Best of Festival in Iowa City and has played nationally and internationally since 2015. She recently received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to finish her current project on Baltimore.
Angela Pelster-Wiebe, 651-523-2096, firstname.lastname@example.org
Dates of Travel:
May 21 - June 7, 2018
Mandatory On-Campus Classes:
$5,765 - Minimum 10-14 students
$4,805 - Minimum 15-20 students
$4,590 - Minimum 20-25 students
*There is an application fee that is separate from the cost of the course.
April 12 - October 2: $225
October 3 - November 15: $275
• Grading: A—F (four credits)
• Hamline Plan: D, F, W (pending)
• Prerequisites: WRIT3000, and one of WRIT3110, 3120 or 3130
• Required Texts: TBD
Included in the Itinerary:
• Round-trip airfare between MSP—CDG
• Ground transportation within France
• Daily breakfast and some group dinners
• All entry fees to performances, museums, and sites required for class
• International Emergency Medical Insurance
Not Included in the Itinerary:
• Trip cancellation insurance
• Meals not included in the itinerary
• Cost of individual recreation
• Laundry, personal expenses, telephone charges, internet access
Please contact the Global Engagement Center or schedule an appointment to learn more about this program.