Life Writing as Reinforcement of the “materialistic and narcissistic subject”

Sarah Allen addresses the ongoing critique of life writing as a genre that doesn’t actually challenge students to change their views on the world.  She notes the prevalent fear among teachers that the life writing essays only contribute the materialistic mindset of consumer society: No doubt, this is part of the reason behind writing teachers’ suspicions…

James D. Williams – “Counterstatement: Autobiography in Composition Scholarship”

Williams, James D.  “Counterstatement: Autobiography in Composition Scholarship.”  Rev. of Situating Composition: Composition Studies and the Politics of Location, by Lisa Ede; Self-Development and College Writing, by Nick Tingle; and The End of Composition Studies, by David W. Smit.  College English 68.2 (2005).  209-225.  JSTOR.  8 April 2014. Williams here is very, very critical of…

J.C. Hallman on reading in the context of ourselves

J.C. Hallman writes that “We never read outside the context of ourselves” (qtd. in Kellman B15).  And this, I think, seems pretty obvious – why even state it, really?  Except that most theories of knowledge appear to posit knowing as tied to an external phenomenon.  There must be an external something that one is to know about.…

“Prepatory” writing and expression

Sarah Allen writes that “the academy has become obsessed with argument…other forms of writing have been demoted to ‘preparatory’ work – their unique strengths diminished in the face of the rigors of argument” (3).  She feels that students have been inculcated into a culture of argument that has some pretty twisted effects, though it’s unclear…

Montaigne, autography, and “knowing”

In discussing Montaigne’s Essais, Spellmeyer describes an approach to knowledge that is very close to Jeanne Perreault’s autography.  “Montaigne’s real concern is not knowledge proper, but the relationship between individuals and the conventions by which their experience is defined and contained” (qtd. in Allen 9).  Allen subsequently describes this as “a fruitful way of thinking about…