Analysis of English grammar and style in literary and academic contexts. Offered alternate years.
We are going to look very closely at sentences to see how they work, how the individual parts of speech draw together into syntax, and what effect (artistic and otherwise) these patterns of syntax create. The course will mix technical study of sentence structure and reflection upon their artful potential so that each of us is able to see and describe how sentences achieve their effects. The course uses two textbooks: Cindy Vitto's Grammar by Diagram is an introduction to (or review of) English grammar; Virginia Tufte’s Artful Sentences: Style as Syntax is a collection of and reflection upon artfulness in sentences that serves as a starting point for each of our own descriptive and analytic work. In individual projects and in our pooled observations, we will each develop a critical language based in grammar for describing prose style. We will be looking at our own sentences and writing styles in order to gain more artistic and technical facility. Throughout, we will reflect on the process of learning and engaging with sentences at this level of detail. We may also, perhaps, enjoy the possibilities of English and have some fun with words.