The History and Future of the Book

Essay #1

Due: Friday, Oct 9, 2009
Length: 1500 words

Write an essay on any one of the following three topics.

  1. Explicate one of the following e-poems:

    "Agrippa: A Book of the Dead"

    "To explicate" means: Explain how the poem works (how do elements such as imagery, metaphor, tone, diction, viewpoint, or variations on a motif contribute to the poem's effect and meaning?) Consider also how the electronic poem conveys meaning differently than printed poetry.
  1. In his article "Is Google Making us Stupid?" Nicholas Carr asserts that "The Net's influence doesn’t end at the edges of a computer screen ... As people’s minds become attuned to the crazy quilt of Internet media, traditional media have to adapt to the audience's new expectations." Analyze one "traditional medium" of communication (i.e a medium that predates the Internet) that continues to operate. Explain how it has or has not changed in response to the changing reading habits cultivated by the Internet. Be as specific as possible. Supply /evidence/ in the form of quotations, photocopies, screen shots, audio or video files, etc.

  2. Write an essay discussing The 21 Steps by Charles Cumming. How does the use of maps function in the story? Is this an effective use of the digital medium in a literary work? Why or why not?

Specific Requirements:

  1. Length: approximately 1500 words

  2. Style and argument : keep in mind the following requirements:

    1. Introduction—do you tell your reader specifically what topic or issue your essay is addressing?

    2. Thesis—is your "answer" expressed in a sentence or two in the first or second paragraph of your essay? (sometimes a thesis is implied, but remember if you state your thesis clearly we'll both know you have one!); (more on effective thesis statements here and here and here).

    3. Paragraphs (more on effective paragraphs here)
      1. does each paragraph have a topic sentence that states the subject to be addressed?
      2. is each paragraph unified? (does it keep strictly to the topic stated in the topic sentence?)
      3. evidence—does each paragraph provide evidence to support the claim made in your thesis?
      4. is the paragraph logically coherent? (do you use transitional words and phrases to express the relationship of the facts and ideas you are presenting?)
    4. Language is the language appropriate for a university essay?
      1. syntax: are words and phrases arranged to create well-formed sentences?
      2. correct word usage
      3. formal diction (more on formal language here)
      4. concision (more on concise language here)