Lesson 1 (from Chapter 1, Forerunners)
This book collects personal essays. This lesson will introduce the topic of the personal essay.
1) Dictionary Definition: What is the personal essay? How does it differ from similar forms of literature? What are sub-categories of the personal essay? What are the features of the personal essay?
2) Class Discussion: Discuss Lopate's reason for creating this volume. What does he feel is valuable about the personal essay? Why has he chosen to select such a broad range of essays over many different subjects and across many different time periods?
3) Group Discussion: In groups, discuss why Chapter 1 is called "forerunners." What does it mean to be a forerunner of the personal essay? Are forerunners not fully-formed personal essays? Are they a different form of literature?
4) Homework: Students should provide an essay on the importance of the personal essay, using information supplied by the author. How did personal essays...
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