Literary Journalism



Winter 2014




Prof. David Abrahamson

Fisk 201A

 (847) 467-4159; home (847) 332-2223


Office Hours:

By appointment



What can I say about journalism? It has the greatest virtue and the greatest evil. It is the first thing the dictator controls. It is the mother of literature and the perpetrator of crap. In many cases it is the only history we have, and yet it is the tool of the worst men. But over a long period of time and because it is the product of so many men, it is perhaps the purest thing we have. Honesty has a way of creeping in even when it was not intended. 

--John Steinbeck

(letter to the U.S. Information Service)

E. Steinbeck and R. Wallsten, eds., Steinbeck:

A Life in Letters (New York: Viking, 1975), 256.



Literary journalism isn't about literary flourishes, it isn't about literary references. Literary journalism at its best asks the questions that literature asks: about the nature of human nature and its place in [the] cosmos.

-- Ron Rosenbaum

(in an interview with Tim Cavanaugh, Feed Magazine)








The focus of this course is the intersection between journalism and literature; its aim, to encourage you to develop a journalistic and critical understanding of some of the finest reportage in the English language. We will survey the work of a generous range of print and broadcast journalists, analyzing relationships between form and content, as well as the historical context in which the pieces were produced. In the latter portion of the course, a number of contemporary journalists will join us as class guests to discuss their work.





To enroll in this course, you must have successfully taken and passed "Journalism 301."






Many of the assigned readings for the course are available in a course packet. You will, however, need to purchase the following books, available in paperback, at the University Bookstore:


  John Hersey, Hiroshima

  John McPhee, Levels of the Game a course workbook to be purchased in Fisk 109 (please bring to first




Recommended but not required works (all anthologies) you may want to purchase for your personal use include:


  Thomas Berner, The Literature of Journalism: Text and Context (1998)

  Norman Sims, True Stories: A Century of Literary Journalism (2008) and Literary Journalism in the Twentieth Century (2008)

  Gay Talese and Barbara Lounsberry, Writing Creative Nonfiction: The Literature of Reality (1996, out of print)

  Tom Wolfe and E.W. Johnson, The New Journalism (out of print)

  Ben Yagoda and Kevin Kerrane, The Art of Fact: A Historical Anthology of Literary Journalism (1997)



The course will be conducted in seminar fashion, so you must be prepared to participate in the class discussion. It is essential that you complete all the assigned readings for each class meeting. We may not discuss every reading in class, but you will be responsible for all the readings on the exams and in occasional in-class written assignments.



Midterm Examination


The exam will take place during the sixth week of the term. We'll discuss the format of the exam in some detail well in advance of the exam date.



Homework Assignments to our Listserv


There will be a number of written homework assignments during the term, typically due the next class meeting. These will include recitations, informal and formal story proposals (plus written critiques of your fellow students' story proposals), term paper proposal, drafts of manuscripts, etc. All assignments will be submitted in both hard copy (in class) and posted to a dedicated listserv, MEDILL-L, via e-mail, by an agreed deadline. It should be noted that all assignments will be written to assigned deadlines which should be considered inviolable (see "Grading" below).


Because history has shown that there are major incompatibilities between the university servers and third-party e-mail systems such as Gmail, Hotmail and AOL, it will be essential that, for this term, you use your university e-mail address and turn off all forwarding to other systems that might be in effect.


To sign up to our listserv, send a one-line message (no subject) reading:

<SUBSCRIBE MEDILL-L YourFirstName YourLastName> to the following address: <LISTSERV@LISTSERV.IT.NORTHWESTERN.EDU>. Note: Do NOT include the "pointy brackets" (< and >) in the address. It is essential that you recheck your email 10 minutes later, and if you successfully signed up, you will have received a "welcoming message" with specific instructions. Please follow them.


I take it as my obligation to return your written assignments to you promptly, usually before the next class. They will be returned in your own student folder in black plastic box on the foyer of Fisk 201. Please check the bottom of the folder, because occasionally I may leave you a small note. You might find it a useful habit to visit your folder before coming to class each week.



Major Writing Assignments


In addition to a variety of homework and in-class writing assignments, you will complete one major writing assignment. It will be either:


a. A substantial piece of original reporting and writing not to exceed ten double-spaced typed pages and written exclusively for this class. It is expected that the literary aspirations for this piece will be quite high. The assignment's explicit objective is to afford you a chance to put into practice some of the literary sensibilities, techniques, devices and command of language we will be explicating during the course of the term.


b. A formal term paper (with bibliography and footnotes) not to exceed eight double-spaced typed pages. It can be either a comparative essay on three or more authors discussing their respective points of view, styles, historical contexts and/or insights on a subject of your choice; or an interpretive essay on a single thematic topic that combines your own critical commentary on three or more of the assigned readings with that from other secondary critical sources.


Conferences: You must arrange an individual conference with me for approval of your major writing assignment no later than fifth week of the term. Your proposal should include a concise (one page or less) summary of your intentions and a preliminary list of sources and/or a bibliography. I will be glad to discuss the nature and formulation of the assignment with you, as often as necessary, as you set out to write it.


Rewriting: To allow you to write this major writing assignment without the pressures of grading, there is a "draft version" submission date during the seventh week of class. You will turn in a first draft of your major assignment on this date, and I will comment on -- but not grade -- it. You will then rewrite the paper and submit it for grading. The final deadline is the next-to-last class of the term.



Optional Major Reading Assignment (extra credit)


You may also, if desired, take on an extra-credit reading assignment. Select one of the books from the list below; they are available in the library and/or most good bookstores. Read it closely, reflecting on two questions: why was it written (the author's intent) and how was it written (the particulars of its execution, including reportage, structure, themes, characterizations, voice, language, etc.). Then, prior to the ninth week of the course, write an analytical essay of no more than 1000 words explicating those aspects of the work you found unique, original and/or worthy of emulation.


* Rick Atkinson, The Long Gray Line

* Scott Anderson, The Man Who Tried to Save the World

  H.G. Bissinger, Friday Night Lights

* Marie Brenner, Great Dames

* Gretel Ehrlich, This Cold Heaven

  Ian Frazier, Great Plains

* Bil Gilbert, Westerning Man

* Malcolm Gladwell, The Tipping Point

  James Gleick, Genius

* Tracy Kidder, Strength in What Remains

* Stephen Kinzer, Overthrow

  Jon Krakauer, Into Thin Air

* Sebastian Junger, The Perfect Storm

* Nicolas Lemann, The Promised Land

  Michael Lewis, The Blind Side

  Norman McLean, Young Men and Fire

* Gay Talese, Honor Thy Father

* Lillian Ross, Picture

  Tom Wicker, A Time to Die

* Alex Witchel, Girls Only


     * = former Distinguished Visitor to our seminar





Because participation in the discussions forms a significant part of the course, attendance is mandatory. Missing class will lower your final grade, as will lack of preparation. If, for some very important reason, you will be absent from class, you must let me know beforehand.


There are a number of deadlines in the course for proposals, papers and other assignments. I think it reasonable to expect that, as a journalist, you do whatever is necessary to meet, without fail, without exception, every one of these deadlines. Each deadline assumes the work will be turned in at the start of class, so promptness is essential. No late assignments will be accepted. 


The penalties: Two (2) absences and/or one (1) missed deadline will, no matter what the quality of your other efforts, lower your final course grade one full letter grade. You will find me unusually intolerant of excuses, explanations, etc. 


A grade for your participation in the class discussion will be assigned, and, along with your homework and in-class writing exercises, it will comprise 50 percent of your final grade. The major writing assignment will count for 30 percent of your grade, and exams (midterm and final) will count for 10 percent each for a total of 20 percent.


Two final matters: (a) Northwestern is committed to providing a supportive and challenging environment for students with disabilities, working to provide a learning environment that affords them equal access and reasonable accommodation of their disabilities; any student who has a documented disability and needs accommodations for classes and/or course work is requested to speak directly to the Office of Services for Students with Disabilities (847-467-5530) and me within the first two weeks of class. All discussions will remain confidential. And (b) It is expected that all students will adhere to the Medill School of Journalism's Standards for Academic Integrity as outlined in the Undergraduate Handbook. If you do not have a copy, please obtain one from the undergraduate registrar, Fisk Hall, Room 104B.


Course Schedule


The class will meet once a week and each class session will be three hours in length.


Jan 6    (Class 1, Week 1)

         Topic: Introduction, Six Tools and Intentionality


         Assignment: Autobiographical essay (2 copies due in hard-copy at next class meeting).

         Assignment: Sign up to listserv (due tomorrow).

         Assignment: Story Idea Version 1 (see listserv "Welcoming Message;" due on listserv by agreed deadline; Subject line: "YourName's Story Idea Version 1").

         Assignment: Quintessential Quote exercise: Charles Dickens and Mark Twain; due on listserv as agreed; Subject line: "YourName's Dickens and Twain quintessential quotes."



Jan 13  (Class 2, Week 2):

         Topic: Theme and Advocacy


         Charles Dickens, "On Duty with Inspector Field" from Charles Dickens, A December Vision: His Social Journalism.

         Mark Twain, Selections from Clemens of the Call;

            Optional: Mark Twain, "Sociable Jimmy" from the New York Times.

         Stephen Crane, "The Man in the White Hat" and "Marines Signaling Under Fire at Guantanamo" from The War Dispatches of Stephen Crane

         Richard Harding Davis, "The Death of Rodriguez" from A Year from a Reporter's Note-Book

            Optional: Richard Harding Davis, "The Germans in Brussels" from the New York Herald Tribune


         Assignment: Finalize Story Idea Version 2 with "theme" paragraph (to listserv; Subject line: "YourName's Story Idea Version 2 w/theme").



Jan 20  No class meeting



Jan 24 (Class 3, Week 3):

         Topic: Cynicism and Empathy; Narrator and Moment


         H.L. Mencken, "Preface" and "Allegro Con Brio" from

Newspaper Days; Selections from Christmas Story

         Ben Hecht, "The Death of Henry Spencer" from A Child of the Century

         Walter Lippmann, "Newspapers" from Public Opinion; "Force and Ideas," "Life Is Cheap" and "Taking a Chance" from Early Writings

         Ernest Hemingway, "Bull Fighting a Tragedy," "A.D. in Africa" and "A New Kind of War" from Byline: Ernest Hemingway


         Assignment: Coaching Memo on Story Idea Version 2 w/theme suggestion (to listserv; Subject line: "YourName's Critique of WriterName's Story Idea Version 2 w/theme suggestion").



Jan 27  (Class 4, Week 4):

         Topic: Symbolic Detail and Negative Space


         George Orwell, "Shooting an Elephant" from The Orwell Reader

            Optional: George Orwell, "Why I Write" from The Orwell Reader

         Dorothy Thompson, "Good-by to Germany" from Harper's

         Edward R. Murrow, Selections from This is London

         Ernie Pyle, Selections from Ernie's War


         Assignment: Major Writing Assignment proposal (to listserv; Subject line: "YourName's Major Writing Proposal or YourName's Term Paper Proposal")



Feb 3  (Class 5,Week 5):

         Topic: Journalistic Distance; Journalist as Moral Witness


         Freya Stark, "The Arabian Coast," "Landing" and "The Way to Jol" from The Southern Gates of Arabia

         A.J. Liebling, "A Good Appetite" and "Its Corollary" from Liebling Abroad

         John Hersey, Hiroshima (in its entirety)

         James Agee, "Overalls" from Let Us Now Praise Famous Men


         Assignment: Critique of Major Writing Assignment proposal (to listserv; Subject line: "YourName's Critique of WritersName's Major Writing Proposal [or Term Paper Proposal]")


            Special Deadline: Recitation due on DISTINGUISHED VISITOR.



Feb 10  (Class 6, Week 6):   

         Topic: Conferences and Midterm exam


         Robert Darnton, "Journalism: All the News That Fits We Print" from The Kiss of Lamourette


         Assignment: Question for DISTINGUISHED VISITOR (to listserv; Subject line: "YourName's Question for NameofVisitor")



Feb 17  (Class 7, Week 7):   

         Topic: The Role of Image; Profiles and Personalities


         James Baldwin, " A Letter from the South" from Nobody Knows My Name

            Optional: James Baldwin, "Equal in Paris" from Notes of a Native Son

         Charles Kuralt, Selections from On the Road

         Ian Frazier, "Canal Street" from the New Yorker

            Optional: Ian Frazier, "Typewriter Man" from the Atlantic Monthly

         Katie Hafner, "The Epic Saga of the Well" from Wired


         Deadline: Major Writing Assignment "first turn-in" submission date



Feb 24  (Class 8, Week 8):

         Topic: The New Journalism and Journalist as Outsider


         Norman Sims, "The Literary Journalists" (Sims, pp. 3-25)

            Optional: Frank DiGiacomo, "The Esquire Decade" from Vanity Fair

         Tom Wolfe, "The New Journalism" (Wolfe and Johnson, pp. 3-52)

            Optional: Tom Wolfe, "Yeager" from The Right Stuff (originally from Rolling Stone); Tom Wolfe, Selections from Radical Chic and Mau-Mauing the Flak Catchers (Wolfe and Johnson, pp. 377-394)

         Hunter S. Thompson, "The Hell's Angels, a Strange and Terrible Saga" (Wolfe and Johnson, pp. 340-355)

            Optional: Malcolm Gladwell, "The Law of the Few" from The Tipping Point; Malcolm Gladwell, "The New-Boy Network" from the New Yorker

         Lillian Ross, "Introduction" and "The Yellow Bus" from




         Assignment: Host Committee prepares for DISTINGUISHED VISITOR


Mar 3 (Class 9, Week 9):

         Topic: The Effects of Technology; Perspective and Point of View



         Distinguished Visitor: Michael Hainey, selections from After Visiting Friends.


         Gay Talese, "'Joe,' Said Marilyn Monroe, Just Back from Korea" and "Frank Sinatra Has a Cold" from Esquire

         Gay Talese, "Introduction" from Best American Essays

            Optional: Norman Mailer, "Armies of the Night" from Harpers's; Norman Mailer, "Superman Comes to the Supermart" from Esquire

            Optional: Joan Didion, "Salvador" (Sims, pp. 71-86); Joan Didion, "On Keeping a Notebook" from the New York Review of Books

         John McPhee, Levels of the Game (in its entirety)



MAR 10 (Class 10, Week 10):

         Topic: First Person Narrator; The Digital Future of Literary Journalism; Final Exam and Course Close


         Sally Tisdale, "We Do Abortions Here" and "Talk Dirty to Me" from Harper's

         Scott Anderson, "Prisoners of War" from Harper's

            Optional: John Seabrook, "E-Mail from Bill" from the New Yorker

         Bil Gilbert, "Mirror of My Mood" from Sports Illustrated


         Deadline: Turn in final version of Major Writing Assignment.




Initial Assignments


1. Autobiographical assignment.


Write an autobiographical essay. This is due the second class meeting. No more than two double-spaced pages, 500 words or less, to include, but not limited to: Your age, nationality and ethnic background, hometown of your youth, parents and their occupations and influence on you, your major and why you chose it, jobs you've held, your future professional aspirations, your hobbies and interests, the three most memorable books you've read and what makes them so, the magazine or newspaper you most admire (and perhaps might some day consider working for?) and why you admire it. Please conclude your essay with an attempt to write one perfect English sentence that includes the word "love."



2. Recitation assignment.


During the term, you will be responsible for two or three brief (five-minute) class presentations on the authors on the reading list. In addition to general biographic information, these recitations should include summaries of their journalistic careers (see samples below).


To prepare for these presentations, you should use both general reference sources (encyclopedias, biographical dictionaries, etc.) and specific biographies and/or works of literary criticism. Please post your recitation on our MEDILL-L listserv by the agreed homework deadline and bring two (2) hard copies to class. You will turn in one copy of your recitation -- double-spaced, with bibliography -- for evaluation.


And lastly, please conclude your recitation with an example of one single sentence you have unearthed in your readings of the author's work that could be regarded as a consummately quintessential example of both their writing style and their world view; in effect, a sentence that could only have be written by them.



Sample Recitation


         Charles Dickens (1812-1870), the unchallenged master of the 19th-century English social novel, was raised in stark poverty. The second of eight children in a poor family made poorer by his father's failures as a civil-service clerk, his early life offered little security. When his father was thrown in debtor's prison, Dickens, then age 12, was forced into child labor.  Clearly, his childhood struggles had a lifelong effect. As one biographer wrote, "The poverty and anarchy of his early life stuffed his memory with strange things and people never to be discovered in Tennysonian country houses or Thackerayan drawing-rooms." His experiences growing up became the basis for many of his most famous books, including Great Expectations and David Copperfield.

         After brief service as a legal clerk, Dickens entered the world of letters as a reporter for The True Sun and The Morning Chronicle, and soon became a parliamentary reporter for The Mirror of Parliament. According to contemporary accounts, "he was ranked high as a reporter for his accuracy, neat reports and the speedy transcription of his shorthand notes." He also began writing sketches, often illustrated by Cruikshank, for The Old Monthly Magazine and served for a time as an editor at Bentley's Miscellany magazine.

         His first true literary successes came in 1836, with the publications of Sketches of Boz, a combination of nonfiction and fiction on the lives of everyday people in London, and the Pickwick Papers, a serialized publication featuring characters with exaggerated personalities. In a critical look at Dickens’ work, novelist George Gissing pointed to Dickens’ use of characters for comedic effect: “Humour is the soul of his work. Like the soul of man, it permeates a living fabric which, but for its creative breath, could never have existed.” Oliver Twist, written in 1837 at age 25, was the first of a series of major novels (Nicholas Nickleby, Great Expectations, A Tale of Two Cities, David Copperfield) in which Dickens used a uniquely detailed documentary style, the style of a reporter, to expose contemporary social evils. Novelist George Orwell wrote, “Dickens voiced a code which was and on the whole still is believed in, even by people who violate it. It is difficult otherwise to explain why he could be both read by working people (a thing that has happened to no other novelist of his stature) and buried in Westminster Abbey.” In 1843, A Christmas Carol, perhaps Dickens’ most famous novella, was published.

        Even as his fiction writing took off, Dickens stayed true to his journalistic roots. For the last 20 years of his life, Dickens edited his own weekly magazine. In 1850, he co-founded Household Words, which published essays, short fiction and poetry. In 1859, he started All the Year Round, which was similar to Household Words but also included serialized novels. In fact, Dickens published three of his own works – A Tale of Two Cities, Great Expectations, and Bleak House, in this magazine. Dickens’ son, Charley, took over the editorship after Dickens’ death, but the magazine folded in 1893.

         Although Dickens’ popularity waned some near the end of the 19th century, his work regained recognition in the 1940s and 1950s because of essays by Orwell and Edmund Wilson, who referred to Dickens as “the greatest writer of his time.” Dickens’ devotees point to his character development as the most enduring aspect of his work. The Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy said of Dickens, “All his characters are my personal friends. I am constantly comparing them with living persons, and living persons with them, and what a spirit there was in all he wrote." This realism gave the topics he wrote about all the more credence.

         Quintessential quote:My meaning simply is, that whatever I have tried to do in life, I have tried with all my heart to do well; that whatever I have devoted myself to, I have devoted myself to completely; that in great aims and in small, I have always been thoroughly in earnest." (David Copperfield


   Dickens Bibliography:

Burgess, Claudia F. "Editors/Reporters Who Became Novelists." Media History

  Digest 3.1 (Spring 1983): 34-41, 59.

Coolidge, Archibald C. Charles Dickens as Serial Novelist. Ames: Iowa

  State University Press, 1967.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1953 ed. S.v. "Dickens, Charles."

Fishkin, Shelly Fisher. From Fact to Fiction: Journalism and Imaginative

  Writing in America. New York: Oxford University Press,   1985.

Johnson, Edgar. Charles Dickens, His Tragedy and Triumph. New York: Viking

  Press, 1977.

Kaplan, Fred. Dickens: A Biography. New York: Morrow, 1988.

Lindsay, Jack. Charles Dickens: A Biographical and Critical Study. London:

  Dakers, 1950.

Page, Norman. A Dickens Chronology. Boston: G.K.Hall, 1988.

Philip, Ned and Neuburg, Victor, eds. Charles Dickens, A December Vision: His

  Social Journalism. London: Collins, 1986.

Wagenknecht, Edward. The Man Charles Dickens. New York: Houghton Mifflin,


Wall, Stephen, ed. Charles Dickens, A Critical Anthology. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1970.



         Mark Twain (b. Samuel Clemens, 1835-1910) was perhaps the best known American novelist of his time. Though the early death of his father, a Hannibal, Mo. shopkeeper, left the family destitute, Twain had two advantages: One was his mother's belief in education. "A Harvard or Yale graduate of Twain's time would have regarded him as unschooled," wrote biographer Oliver Howard, "but he had ten years of formal schooling from age four through 14, far more than the average person of his generation." The second was his older brother, Orion, owner of the Hannibal Journal, who introduced him to the world of newspapers. Starting as a 12-year-old assistant on the Journal, Twain quickly learned the typesetting craft and became a journeyman printer, traveling as far east as New York before he was 19.

         When the Civil War closed the river trade in 1861, ending a brief stint as a Mississippi pilot, Twain went west. Having occasionally contributed satirical pieces to his brother's Journal, Walt Whitman's New Orleans Crescent and the Keokuk (Iowa) Post in his late teens and early twenties, Twain soon decided on a career in journalism. Presenting himself to the owner of the Virginia City Territorial Enterprise in September 1862, he declared, "My name is Clemens, and I've come to write for the paper." Clearly, the raw, violent world of the Comstock Lode did not daunt him. Though short on actual journalistic training, he promptly found his way. Recalling his very first reporting assignment in Virginia City, Twain would later write, "I felt that I had found my legitimate occupation as last." Later he would work as a reporter for the Placer (Nev.) Weekly Courier, the San Francisco Call and the San Francisco Alta California, as a traveling correspondent for a number of California and New York newspapers and as a contributor to Harper's, The Atlantic and Galaxy magazines. He began to gain fame in 1865 when his short story, "The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County,” was published in the New York Saturday Press.

         Almost 25 years after beginning his newspaper career as a "printer's devil," Twain found his fictional voice, publishing his first narrative work, Roughing It, in 1872. This was followed by The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, The Prince and the Pauper, Life on the Mississippi, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court. These later novels not only established Twain's position as the master folk-writer of his era, but also secured the place of the colloquial voice of the Western frontier in American literature. Ernest Hemingway said, “All modern American literature comes from one book by Mark Twain called Huckleberry Finn.” Even in his fictional accounts, Twain relied on his experience growing up in Hannibal and his short time as a riverboat pilot. He rejected the idea that nonfiction was necessarily more real than fiction. “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please.

         Twain was fascinated by new technology, and this played out in the plot of A Connecticut Yankee at King Arthur's Court, which featured a time traveler bringing his technological know-how to Arthurian England. Later in life, though, his literary success faded. Twain rushed many of his stories because of constant money troubles that came from investments in failed inventions. Novels such as Pudd'nhead Wilson and Personal Reflections of Joan of Arc were unsuccessful commercially. Twain became an outspoken critic of other writers in the literary reviews he published in the early 20th century, shortly before his death. Jane Austen took the worst of his criticism (although some scholars now believe he was secretly a fan of her work). Twain wrote in a letter, “Every time I read 'Pride and Prejudice' I want to dig her up and beat her over the skull with her own shin-bone.” During the last four years of his life, Twain dictated his autobiography to a stenographer. The first volume of the 500,000-word manuscript was published in November 2010, more than a century after the author’s death.

         Quintessential quote: “The wind blew such a hurricane that the coach drifted sideways from one toll road to another, and sometimes utterly refused to mind her helm.”


         Twain Bibliography:

Branch, Edgar M., ed. Clemens of the Call. Berkeley: Univ. of California

  Press, 1969.

Budd, Louis J. Our Mark Twain: The Making of his Public Personality.

  Philadelphia: Univ. of Pennsylvania Press, 1983.

Connery, Thomas Bernard. Fusing Fictional Technique and Journalistic Fact:

  Literary Journalism in the 1890s Newspaper.  Providence, R.I.: s.n., 1984.

Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1953 ed. S.v. "Twain, Mark."

Hicks, Granville. The Great Tradition. New York: Biblio, 1967.

Howard, Oliver N. and Howard, Goldena. The Mark Twain Book. New London, Mo.:

  Ralls County Book Co., 1985.

Lauber, John. The Making of Mark Twain. New York: American Heritage, 1985.

Sanborn, Margaret. Mark Twain: The Bachelor Years. New York: Doubleday, 1990.




Author List


This is the list of journalists we will cover in the assigned readings. Please select two or three for your recitation assignments.



Charles Dickens

Mark Twain

Stephen Crane

Richard Harding Davis

H.L. Mencken

Ben Hecht

Walter Lippmann

Ernest Hemingway

George Orwell

Dorothy Thompson

Edward R. Murrow

Ernie Pyle

Freya Stark

A.J. Liebling

John Hersey

James Agee

Robert Darnton

James Baldwin

Charles Kuralt

Ian Frazier

Katie Hafner

GUEST: Michael Hainey (due 5th class)

Norm Sims

Tom Wolfe

Hunter S. Thompson

Malcolm Gladwell*

Lillian Ross

Gay Talese

Norman Mailer*

Joan Didion*

John McPhee

Sallie Tisdale

Scott Anderson

John Seabrook*

Bil Gilbert


* Readings are optional




Books in Library


The following books should be available in the library. The list includes both interesting critical commentaries on "the literature of fact" and a few additional works by some of the contemporary assigned authors.


Chris Anderson, Style as Argument: Contemporary American Nonfiction

Edgar M. Branch, Clemens of the Call: Mark Twain in San Francisco

Wayne C. Booth, The Rhetoric of Fiction

Richard Harding Davis, A Year from a Reporter's Note-Book

Terry Eagleton, The Function of Criticism

Shelley Fisher Fishkin, From Fact to Fiction: Journalism & Imaginative Writing

  in America

John Hartsock, A History of American Literary Journalism: The Emergence of a

  Modern Narrative Form

John Hellmann, Fables of Fact: The New Journalism as New Fiction

John Hollowell, Fact & Fiction: The New Journalism and the Nonfiction Novel

Michael L. Johnson, The New Journalism: The Underground Press, the Artists of

  Nonfiction and Changes in the Established Media

Barbara Lounsberry, The Art of Fact: Contemporary Artists of Nonfiction

John A. McPhee, The John McPhee Reader

James Emmett Murphy, The New Journalism: A Critical Perspective

Neil Philip and Victor Neuburg, Charles Dickens: A December Vision

Norman Sims, Literary Journalism in the Twentieth Century

Louis Snyder, ed., A Treasury of Great Reporting: Literature Under  

  Pressure from the Sixteenth Century to Our Own Time

Gay Talese, New York: A Serendipiter's Journey

Joseph M. Webb, The Student Journalist and Writing the New Journalism

Ronald Weber, The Literature of Fact: Literary Nonfiction in American