anthology introduction essay. 7 pages, double space, all details on documents.

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WRTG 101/SPRING 2018
GARRETT
Paper #3 Anthology Introduction
The Basics:
Length: Your introduction will be 7-8 pages, plus a Works Cited page. You will also
turn in a copy of your “anthology” of texts.
Anthology Text Requirements: three longform articles.
Research Requirements: Your introduction must be informed by at least four additional
research sources. Two of your sources must be research articles from scholarly journals
and must be drawn from at least two different academic disciplines.
Preliminary Anthology Selections due: 4/16. Bring your three texts to class.
Workshop Draft due: 4/26.
The Final Draft (Paper Packet #3) will be due at your final exam.
Section 026: Monday, May 7th, 11:20-1:50.
Section 044: Thursday, May 3rd, 11:20-1:50.
Section 068: Monday, May 7th, 2:30-5:00
Value: 250 points.
The Anthology:
Imagine that you are putting together your own true crime anthology—a slim, standalone volume, or perhaps a section in a larger anthology. You will select three texts that
you think speak to each other. In making your selections, you need to decide on a clear
organizing/selection principle, such as texts on a certain type of crime or criminal, from a
specific time period, geographic location, or that capture the zeitgeist of a particular
cultural moment. (In regard to the last suggestion, think of how “The Fabulous
Fraudulent Life of Jocelyn and Ed” reflects the gluttonous materialism and Facebook
exhibitionism of the early aughts.) Your selection principle may be very broad—crimes
of passion, unsolved crimes—or as narrow as a single, specific case.
It is vital that you choose your texts carefully. You want to create a rounded, complex
experience for your reader; don’t simply pick texts that echo each other. Your texts
should complicate each other, provoking questions and ideas rather than all pointing to
one simple answer. In short, the reader should gain something by reading all of these
texts as a unit; together they should create a lively, thought-provoking conversation.
Selection Guidelines:
•
•
Type of texts: longform journalistic essays, like the essays we’ve read in True
Crime or copied from The Best American Crime Reporting series. Newspaper
accounts, particularly longer feature articles, or interviews are also acceptable. I
hate to give a specific word-count requirement, but I would caution you when
considering texts less than 1,200 words in length. (Some of your texts will likely
be much longer than that.)
You are selecting anthology texts for a smart, literate but mainstream audience.
Scholarly journal articles require specialized knowledge and are intended for a
specific academic discipline. Therefore it is unlikely that a scholarly research
article would make an appropriate anthology text.
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•
•
•
•
•
You may include one text—but no more than that—from True Crime and class
handouts.
All of your texts must be drawn from different sources and different writers; you
can’t pull everything from, say, back issues of The New Yorker, or choose three
articles by Dominick Dunne. Check to see if any of your texts have been
reprinted elsewhere; if so, you must include this information in your Works Cited
page.
If you are uncertain how to begin your selection process, start with a text from
class that you liked; even if you don’t include it in your anthology, you might
look for more of the writer’s work, or browse the magazine where the piece was
published.
All texts must be self-contained and complete: no excerpts of longer works.
Avoid classics of the genre that a literate reader would already know. (No
excerpts of In Cold Blood or The Stranger Beside Me.) You want to introduce the
reader to texts he or she likely wouldn’t encounter otherwise.
Your Introduction:
We will compose a style guide in class, drawing from Harold Schechter’s introduction to
True Crime and Joyce Carol Oates’ “The Literature of Serial Killers,” which, while
strictly speaking not an introduction, functions as one in many respects.
The goals of your introduction are the following:
• Provide useful context for the reader. Consider how Schechter traces the
history of the true crime genre, and how Oates explains the origins of the term
“serial killer,” gives historical background and statistics, and explores necrophilia
in literature (“A Rose for Emily”).
• Address questions, debates, common perceptions or misperceptions.
Schechter addresses the genre’s disreputable reputation, and explores the question
of why there has always been a public craving to read crime accounts.
• Raise questions of your own. Oates poses many questions, for example, about
diagnosing, preventing and treating serial killers.
• Make a claim or observation about your texts. The nature of your claim will
depend on your selected texts, but it might be about crime, true crime writing, the
public’s views on crime, our fascination with crime, etc. For example, Schechter
claims that his anthology, True Crime, “seeks to reveal both continuities and
transformations in the ways that Americans have written about crime.” He argues
that while criminal behavior itself is timeless, unchanging except in the
technological details, our interpretations of crime have varied widely from era to
era. Oates makes several claims in her essay: the serial killer is emblematic of the
1990s, “our debased, condemned, yet eerily glorified Noble Savage, the vestiges
of the frontier spirit, the American isolato cruising interstate highways”; serial
killing “is a bizarre species of romantic love, the project of a ghoulish Don Juan”;
our fascination with serial killers stems from recognizing ourselves in them; the
serial killer’s behavior “suggests a kinship” with the artist; because the serial
killer violates taboos, we romanticize and project superhuman powers onto them.
2
In addition to the goals I just described, you should focus on the following skills that you
practiced in your previous assignments: close reading; analysis of language and rhetorical
choices; looking for connections between texts; putting texts into conversation with each
other.
How Assignment 3 Compares to Assignment 2:
A comparison to the Media Coverage Analysis essay may shed some light on the
Anthology Introduction.
• Both are, to some extent, compare and contrast essays. In your media coverage
analysis you made connections between your texts and drew observations about
the media coverage. In your anthology introduction you will also make
connections between your texts, but you will be more focused on making useful
distinctions between them.
• This leads me to text selection. For your media coverage analysis, you selected
representative articles that exemplified the larger media coverage. While your
articles differed in some ways, they likely had many similarities and may have
even clearly echoed each other. Your three anthology texts should be quite
distinct from each other. While they will be connected by topic or some other
organizing principle, they will not echo each other: instead, they should speak to
each other. Your anthology texts will bring different perspectives, insights, and
purposes to bear on the topic. In short, taken as a group, your media coverage
articles illuminated underlying patterns in a larger body of work. A strong
anthology will do something quite different: it will complicate and enlarge the
reader’s understanding of a topic.
• For paper #2, your readers would never actually read the media coverage articles
under analysis; instead, they would completely rely on your depiction of them. So
your media coverage articles were purely texts to be analyzed and “mined” for
your paper. The situation is very different with your anthology texts. While you
will certainly analyze your texts, you also have the additional task of presenting
them to the audience to read. Your introduction will guide readers, and tell them
how to read the anthology texts. The fact that your audience will not only read
your introduction but also your anthology texts affects the rhetorical situation in
several ways. For example, you will want to contextualize your anthology texts
so that your audience will understand your observations and argument, but you
don’t want to over-summarize or give so much away that you “spoil” the texts
themselves. Also—and this may seem obvious—your anthology texts must have
literary merit; they have the burden of needing to be interesting and “readable” in
a way that your media coverage articles did not.
Evaluation:
When evaluating your work, I will assess how well you fulfilled the requirements and
goals as described above, in addition to the objectives on the Writing Studies Program’s
Grading Criteria.
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