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Weaving: Breathing: Thinking: The poetics of Emerson’s Nature

Text derives from texere, which means “to weave” and “to construct.” As Emerson states later in the essay, nature weaves texts: “A life in harmony with nature . . . will purge the eyes to understand her text . . . so that the world shall be to us an open book . . . ” (CWI 23). As Emerson writes later in “Goethe,” “All things are engaged in writing…

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Writing for the Godless: Flannery O’Connor on Dogma, Belief, and the Difference Between Religion and Faith

I’m not teaching her time period this term, but I usually throw in some Flannery O’Connor whenever I can. One of the most extraordinary meditations on religion and the role of spirituality in society comes from beloved author Flannery O’Connor, whose writing blended her Catholic faith with strong secular themes of ethics and moral philosophy, and nowhere does her singular spirit shine more luminously than in The Habit of Being:…

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The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper

Both of the following writing samples demonstrate effective use of grammar, punctuation, and other surface-level matters. Which version does a better job introducing an argument? Version 1: The Best Way to Start an Academic Paper In universities across the country, students start papers in different ways. Some papers start with a statement about life or some abstract quality like truth or justice. Others start with a striking quotation from notable…

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Want a tech job? Study this. Advice from Mozilla, Reddit, Tumblr and more

Students often say they hate group work. I don’t attach a huge amount of points to group work, but I do ask them to collaborate on various projects. Learning how to deal with a team member who isn’t pulling his or her weight, or how to work with a take-charge person who tries to shut out less assertive group members, is a valuable life skill. Critical thinking, self-driven progress in…