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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Valerie M Arvidson
ENGL 384
Seattle Campus

The Craft of Prose

Intensive study of various aspects of the craft of fiction or creative nonfiction. Readings in contemporary prose and writing using emulation and imitation. Prerequisite: ENGL 283; ENGL 284.

Class description

A brief overview: Portraiture: Fiction

“Nothing in a portrait is a matter of indifference. Gesture, grimace, clothing, decor even – all must combine to realize a character.? – Charles Baudelaire Based on my own creative work inspired by art, portraits, and photographs, I will teach a course that explores a select group of writers and artists whose work consists of portrait-making or expresses the theme of portraiture. The primary focus will be on the study and practice of writing from portraits – defined broadly –- and creating “word portraits.? This theme will be studied through the critical analysis and imaginative interpretations of artistic portraits (photographs and paintings, etc), family photographs, word-portraits, biographies, autobiographies, fictional auto/biographies, and the self-portrait.

In some ways all fiction is portraiture,(in the sense that it is always portraying or representing something, even if imaginary), and we will explore the boundaries of using this term but focus primarily on its literal meanings. Does a portrait need some kind of "frame" for example?

Portrait: 1 : picture; especially : a pictorial representation of a person usually showing the face 2 : a sculptured figure : bust 3 : a graphic portrayal in words

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Recommended preparation

Class assignments and grading


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Last Update by Valerie M Arvidson
Date: 11/08/2012