This course will focus on the art and argument of the essay. We will be reading a wide range of essays by authors such as Michel de Montaigne, Jonathan Swift, Sojourner Truth, Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, and Alice Walker, as well as essays by journalists, literary scholars and Penn students. We will also be writing a number of essays in a number of styles: personal, expository, political and polemical, and critical and scholarly. The course will focus on writing strategies, from form and rhetoric to tone, as well as on theme and content. This will be a writing-intensive course, and students will be encouraged to revise their work throughout the semester.