Beyond Argument: Essaying as a Practice of (Ex)Change

(5 reviews)


Sarah Allen, University of Northern Colorado

Pub Date: 2015

ISBN 13: 978-1-6023564-7-4

Publisher: WAC Clearinghouse

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Reviewed by Lance Cummings, Assistant Professor, University of North Carolina Wilmington, on 5/22/2018.

I don't really see this book being a textbook for too many courses. Its purview is very narrow. I imagine this being used for a graduate course in … read more



Reviewed by Kelsey Kerr, Adjunct Professor, American University, on 2/2/2018.

The book is fairly comprehensive in covering the topic. It especially focuses on voice, how to cultivate that and to reach others, which is so … read more



Reviewed by Julie Daniels, Instructor, Century College, on 4/12/2017.

This book, designed for teachers of writing or graduate students preparing to teach, provides a lovely collection of student writing produced in … read more



Reviewed by Gianina Coturri Sorenson, Senior Teaching Assistant, University of North Carolina at Greensboro, on 12/6/2016.

Allen's book appropriately covers the theoretical underpinnings of her essay-writing stance. She consistently moves from broad arguments (eg, the … read more



Reviewed by Jamalieh Haley, Adjunct Professor, Portland Community College, on 12/6/2016.

The book thoroughly explores personal essay writing, drawing on modern philosophy and theory, including Elbow, Bartholomae, Foucault, Montaigne, … read more


Table of Contents

  • Front Matter
  • Acknowledgements
  • Introduction
  • Chapter One: Meeting the Real Self in the Essay
  • Chapter Two: Meeting the Constructed Self in the Essay
  • Chapter Three: Cultivating a Self in the Essay
  • Chapter Four: Imitation as Meditation
  • Chapter Five: Self Writing in the Classroom
  • Works Cited

About the Book

Beyond Argument offers an in-depth examination of how current ways of thinking about the writer-page relation in personal essays can be reconceived according to practices in the care of the self — an ethic by which writers such as Seneca, Montaigne, and Nietzsche lived. This approach promises to reinvigorate the form and address many of the concerns expressed by essay scholars and writers regarding the lack of rigorous exploration we see in our students' personal essays — and sometimes, even, in our own. In pursuing this approach, Sarah Allen presents a version of subjectivity that enables productive debate in the essay, among essays, and beyond.

About the Contributors


Sarah Allen is Associate Professor in the English Department at the University of Northern Colorado in Greeley, CO, where she serves as a Rhetoric and Composition scholar and teacher. Her work has been published in Rhetoric Review and in Educational Philosophy and Theory; she also has book chapters in Writing Spaces: Readings on Writing (Parlor Press) and in Research Writing Revisited: A Sourcebook for Teachers (Heinemann). Her scholarship generally explores the ethics of the personal essay, and this work informs her teaching, as she works to discover the most useful and effective ways of assisting students in engaging with difficult, dense material and in generating complex, rigorous writings of their own.