Write a letter to Leo Tolstoy or Clive Bell. In your letter, describe to the  author  your  personal  responses  their  text.  Your  letter  should describe your responses and the reasons for them. The letter can take any form you like as long as it is a response to the reading you chose. You may write in any voice you like as long as it allows you to take the assignment seriously.You  are  free  to  refer  to  actual  artists  and  artworks,  to  (correctly!)  use technical terminology from philosophy and other disciplines, and to make use of information you learned in classes in addition to this one. It is ok to refer to information  that  was  not  available  to  the  author  you  are  writing  to  and  to assume your chosen author has the imagination to follow your discussion, as long as you make your assumptions clear. So, for example, you may refer to art  and  artists  and  historical  events  from  periods  after  your  chosen  author’s lifetime.

Be sure to give enough information so that your reader can tell which ideas or concepts you are talking about. You can use a hypothetical classmate as an approximate listener, i.e., what would another student in PHL 360 need to know  to  identify  the  concept  you  have  in  mind  and to  understand your response?          

If you need help getting started, consider addressing one of these questions:

In  what  ways  do  you  find  the  author’s  ideas  are  consistent  with  your  own experiences of art? 

Are there ways you would modify the author’s ideas?

Do you have questions for the author you chose and why did they arise?

Do you see revealing connections, directions, or conflicts within the author’s ideas? 

Do you see connections between an author’s context and their thinking?

General Instructions for the Essays  

1.  Essays should be 3 – 4 double-spaced pages.

2.  Type  all  essays  and  use  a  normal  margin  and  a  readable  font.  It  is  not necessary to write a very long essay, even for the best grade. On the other hand, if your essay is too short, you are probably staying too close to the surface. Are you sure you didn’t skip steps?      

3. Your answer will be graded on the basis of demonstrated understanding of  the  course  materials,  thoughtfulness,  organization  and  clarity,  and  writing mechanics (for example, grammar, spelling, and sentence organization).   

4.  For  these  essays,  the  requirements  for  citation  form  are  relatively relaxed. 

a.   If you refer to an artwork, be sure to give its full name and the artist’s (or author’s, composer’s, performer’s) name 

b.Give the source for all direct quotes and write the informationin parentheses right after the quoted material. Thus, 

c.   For quotes from Neill and Ridley, you can use this abbreviated form:Essay Author, “Essay Title”, The Philosophy of Art, page xyz. Similarly,“Dickie, Introduction, page xyz”, works for the book by George Dickie. d.   Give the standard bibliographical information for any other sources you refer  to  or  quote  from  including  other  textbooks  (i.e.,  author,  title, publisher, year of publication, and page number).     FYI, this is much like the system that Philosophy journals use for book reviews.        

5. I encourage you to write a first draft and to let it sit for a day before you rewrite it; it will make a difference. Proofread your final result for errors of form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *