Course Description

With its propulsive force and thrumming momentum, On the Road has long been heralded (and occasionally reviled) for its spontaneous prose style, a seemingly effortless translation of thought to the page. Beneath that surface is a hard-scrubbed effort, a mining of mind and craft that provides valuable lessons on the writing process and the struggles that define it. Through close reading, discussion, and in-class prompts, we will probe his use of point of view; commanding and sensory details; intimate and imagistic descriptions; and spontaneous prose. Mining his work challenges us to reach beyond what we believe we think to get at what we really think, to discover the less evident, often uncomfortable mysteries that fuel writing that resonates and shimmers on the page.

This class will be held at the American Writers Museum, where the On the Road scroll is on exhibit. There will be time to explore the museum’s exhibits before class begins. In preparation for class, please read the first chapter and 6-10 in Part III of On the Road. For a digital copy, please contact writersstudio@uchicago.edu.

There will be a pre-class reception and chance to explore the museum from 6-6:30. Class will begin at 6:30.

Location: American Writers Museum, 180 North Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor

Price includes museum entry.

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