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Literary Non-Fiction

ENGL 285.301
W 3-6

This seminar is being taught by one of the most emiment and successful of living American writers. Gay Talese is the author of many books in a category of nonfiction writing that has sometimes been called "the  literature of reality," sometimes "the New Journalism," sometimes "fact fiction." Among these works are Thy Neighbor's Wife (1980), Unto the Sons (1992), The Kingdom and the Power (1969), Honor Thy Father (1971), and The Overreachers (1965). Through samples of such writing and analysis, this seminar will focus on creative nonfiction. Some material will likely be drawn from Talese's anthology The Literature of Reality (HarperCollins, 1996). Students admitted into the seminar are urged to purchase a copy of this text. Students interested in the course should look at one or more of the following articles about Talese and the "new journalism": David Eason, "The New Journalism and the Image-World," in Literary Journalism in the Twentieth Century (Oxford, 1990); Ronald Weber, "Subjective Reality and Saturation Reporting," in The Literature of Fact: Literary Nonfiction in American Writing (1980). These and other articles and essays about Talese will be available for reading at the Kelly Writers House, 3805 Locust Walk, once pre-registration begins in early November 1998. For the Spring 1999 semester, Gay Talese will be the first Kelly Writers House Fellow, a project made possible by a generous grant from Paul Kelly. The course will be held in the seminar room (#202) at the Writers House Wednesdays from 3 until 6 PM. Students enrolled should be prepared, as necessary, to meet with Mr. Talese in "office hours" at the Writers House prior to the Wednesday class sessions. Much more information will be available at


NOTE: Students will be admitted to the course by permission of the instructor. Students should submit a short statement addressing any or all of these questions: Why do you want to study literary nonfiction? Where does this particular seminar fit into your academic plan as a student? What experiences, either academic or job-related, have you had that makes you particularly keen about this seminar? What relevant writing have you done? These statements should be printed on one side of one page. Statements submitted prior to December 1, 1998, will get first priority. They should be brought to 119 Bennett Hall, marked clearly "Statement for Gay Talese, English 285," and put in the mailbox of Loretta Williams.