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Creative Nonfiction: Writing Your Travels

ENGL 135.302
instructor(s):
M 2-5:00

In this course students will discuss what travelling means in an age when many people can get on a plane or drive on a whim to a place of their choice. Students will be asked to think about travel as a deliberate act or an act of improvisation. They will observe and record what they see when they travel. They will explore a popular form of writing and practice both—travelling and writing—as part of their own daily activities. The familiar will become strange and new as they return home, walk through the university, visit Center City, or explore places close to campus. They will, in the process, learn about themselves; they will learn to see themselves in the mirror of “the ordinary and the extraordinary,” “the other,” or “the same.” They will be forced to see themselves as part of a greater whole, a past, a present, and a future. The course will explore famous works by travelers who visited the USA, such works as Charles Dickens’s “On America and the Americans” and G. K. Chesterton’s “What I Saw in America” (1922), and consider recent works such as Michael O’Brien’s Mrs. Adams in Winter: A Journey in the Last Days of Napoleon(2011) and Robert MacFarlane’s The Old Ways: A Journey on Foot (2012).