" 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 John Belshaw

horizontal rule

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

horizontal rule


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: petts@tru.ca 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
fax: 250.371.5697


" 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

horizontal rule

To receive further information about the site, send email to petts@tru.ca


Return to Writing In the Disciplines Home Page