" Try your luck with the above quiz on English literature. Answer the questions as if you
were a member of the critical community. If you want to learn more about that community, or about
other communities in the humanities, keep reading!"
- Will Garrett-Petts
According to noted critic and rhetorician Kenneth Burke, "Form . . . is an arousing and fulfillment of desires.
A work has form in so far as one part of it leads a reader to anticipate another part, to be gratified by the sequence."
The forms of writing that we associate with English Studies--that is, prose fiction, poetry, dramatic literature, and
essays--are similarly tied to community desires and expectations. Writing critical essays is more than a matter
of slotting ideas into a pre-planned format (like the 5-paragraph theme essay most of us learn in high school);
writing successful critical essays obligates you to learn more about your intended audience. The interviews
with two English professors, Dr. Henry Hubert and Dr. Genevieve Later, will help you learn more about the
community of literary critics--and about English Studies in general.
- Go to English Interviews
If you want to learn more about writing history essays, go directly to the interview with Dr. John
Belshaw. He maintains that the field of history straddles two areas: the humanities and the
social sciences. To succeed in history, you must be able to tell a good story--history is a "narrative
art," says Belshaw--and you must be able to analyze the data.
- Go to Interview with
In addition to the interviews, this site features a variety of essays offering advice on how
to write in the humanities. If you have ever wondered how to integrate quotations, prepare
for essay exams, or find topics that work, go directly to the research essays now.
- Go to the Research Essays
" Until the 1960s English studies . . . remained focused largely on courses in the history
of British literature . . . . In the 1960s and 1970s, however, a revival in language, communication,
and rhetoric, as well as a widening concern for literary theory, led to an expanded scope of English
studies. This new interest in language and communication derives from an underlying epitemology
grounded in a belief that the creation of knowledge itself is intimately related to the human use
of language "
- Henry Hubert, from his study of the development
of English in Canada, Harmonious Perfection
Feel free to send material on "Writing in the Humanities" for inclusion
or linking to this site. Enquiries should be sent to Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts
via e-mail: email@example.com or via snail mail:
The Writing in the Disciplines Web Site
C/O Dr. W.F. Garrett-Petts
University College of the Cariboo
900 McGill Road
Box 3010, Kamloops, B.C.
Canada, V2C 5N3
" I call for an education that inculcates in students an understanding of major
disciplinary ways of thinking. The disciplines I have singled out are science,
mathematics, the arts, and history. Within those disciplinary families
it is important that students study substantial topics in depth. . . .
[S]tudents should probe with sufficient depth a manageable set of examples
so that they come to see how one thinks and acts in the manner of a
scientist, a geometer, an artist, an historian. . . . The purpose of such immersion
is not--I must stress--to make students miniature experts in a given
discipline, but to enable them to draw on these modes of thinking in coming
to understand their world. Later, if they want to range more widely in these
disciplines or pursue a career in one of them, they will find the time and the
tools to do so."
- Howard Gardner, The Disciplined Mind
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