An introduction to the analysis of prose writing

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An introduction to the analysis of prose writing

See Article History Nonfictional prose, any literary work that is based mainly on fact, even though it may contain fictional elements. Examples are the essay and biography. Defining nonfictional prose literature is an immensely challenging task.

This type of literature differs from bald statements of fact, such as those recorded in an old chronicle or inserted in a business letter or in an impersonal message of mere information. Separate articles cover biography and literary criticism. Nature Nonfictional prose genres cover an almost infinite variety of themes, and they assume many shapes.

In quantitative terms, if such could ever be valid in such nonmeasurable matters, they probably include more than half of all that has been written in countries having a literature of their own. Nonfictional prose genres have flourished in nearly all countries with advanced literatures.

The genres include political and polemical writings, biographical and autobiographical literature, religious writings, and philosophical, and moral or religious writings.

After the Renaissance, from the 16th century onward in Europe, a personal manner of writing grew in importance. The author strove for more or less disguised self-revelation and introspective analysis, often in the form of letters, private diaries, and confessions.

Also of increasing importance were aphorisms after the style of the ancient Roman philosophers Seneca and Epictetus, imaginary dialoguesand historical narratives, and later, journalistic articles and extremely diverse essays. From the 19th century, writers in Romance and Slavic languages especially, and to a far lesser extent British and American writers, developed the attitude that a literature is most truly modern when it acquires a marked degree of self-awareness and obstinately reflects on its purpose and technique.

Such writers were not content with imaginative creation alone: The 19th-century French poet Charles Baudelaire asserted that no great poet could ever quite resist the temptation to become also a critic: Indeed, most modern writers, in lands other than the United States, whether they be poets, novelists, or dramatists, have composed more nonfictional prose than poetry, fictionor drama.

In the instances of such monumental figures of 20th-century literature as the poets Ezra PoundT. It is virtually impossible to attempt a unitary characterization of nonfictional prose.

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The concern that any definition is a limitation, and perhaps an exclusion of the essential, is nowhere more apposite than to this inordinately vast and variegated literature. Ever since the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers devised literary genressome critics have found it convenient to arrange literary production into kinds or to refer it to modes.

Elements Obviously, a realm as boundless and diverse as nonfictional prose literature cannot be characterized as having any unity of intent, of technique, or of style.

It can be defined, very loosely, only by what it is not.

An introduction to the analysis of prose writing

Many exceptions, in such a mass of writings, can always be brought up to contradict any rule or generalization. No prescriptive treatment is acceptable for the writing of essays, of aphorisms, of literary journalismof polemical controversy, of travel literature, of memoirs and intimate diaries.

No norms are recognized to determine whether a dialoguea confession, a piece of religious or of scientific writing, is excellent, mediocreor outright bad, and each author has to be relished, and appraised, chiefly in his own right.

But other equally significant English essayists of the same century, such as Charles Lamb or Walter Pateror the French critic Hippolyte Taineunder an impassive mask, loved too, but differently. Still other nonfictional writers have been detached, seemingly aloof, or, like the 17th-century French epigrammatist La Rochefoucauld, sarcastic.

Their intensity is of another sort. Reality and imagination Prose that is nonfictional is generally supposed to cling to reality more closely than that which invents stories, or frames imaginary plots.

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Many modern novels and plays, however, were woefully deficient in imaginative force, and the word may have been bandied about so much out of a desire for what was least possessed. Rather, imagination is displayed in nonfictional prose in the fanciful invention of decorative details, in digressions practiced as an art and assuming a character of pleasant nonchalance, in establishing a familiar contact with the reader through wit and humour.

The variety of themes that may be touched upon in that prose is almost infinite. The treatment of issues may be ponderously didactic and still belong within the literary domain. For centuries, in many nations, in Asiatic languages, in medieval Latin, in the writings of the humanists of the Renaissance, and in those of the Enlightenment, a considerable part of literature has been didactic.

The ease with which digressions may be inserted in that type of prose affords nonfictional literature a freedom denied to writing falling within other genres. The drawback of such a nondescript literature lies in judging it against any standard of perfection, since perfection implies some conformity with implicit rules and the presence, however vague, of standards such as have been formulated for comedy, tragedy, the ode, the short story and even in this case, more honoured in the breach than the observance the novel.

The compensating grace is that in much nonfictional literature that repudiates or ignores structure the reader is often delighted with an air of ease and of nonchalance and with that rarest of all virtues in the art of writing: Style The writing of nonfictional prose should not entail the tension, the monotony, and the self-conscious craft of fiction writing.

The English author G. Some rambling casualness, apparently irrelevant anecdotesand suggestions of the conclusions that the author wishes his readers to infer are often more effective than extreme terseness.

There is also another manner of writing that is more attentive to the periodic cadences and elegance of prose, in the style of the ancient Roman orator Cicero.

In the 20th century that type of prose lost favour with American and British readers, who ceased to cherish Latin orators and Biblical prose as their models.Any narrative, especially in prose, about invented or imagined characters and action. Today, fiction falls into three major subgenres based .

Providing educators and students access to the highest quality practices and resources in reading and language arts instruction. COURSE TITLE: INTRODUCTION TO PROSE FICTION.

1 ENG INTRODUCTION TO PROSE FICTION c. To acquaint students with the idea of textual analysis of Prose Fiction Course Objectives To achieve the aims above, we have some overall objectives.

National Open University of Nigeria. Teaching teenagers writing skills. Students find writing compositions very difficult because: It is often a solitary task, often given as homework and therefore unsupported.

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