John Stenzel
English 46C
Spring 2000

"Quiz 4"--Imitation / Adaptation

Due by noon on Tuesday, June 13, hard copy under John's door, or via e-mail. You may turn it in to me before then, of course!

In demanding both creative and analytical work, this exercise may be a bit less constraining and less unenjoyable than the delightful time-pressured exercises we have forced on you so far.

Take a genre or a writer's style we have studied (for example, a sonnet, a dramatic monologue, a lyric, a lament, a moral / philosophical essay, a bit of Wildean or Shavian dialogue, Hardyesque narration, etc.), and use it to address a subject you care about. Your works should be long enough to show that you have immersed yourself in the conventions of the genre--its strictures and language conventions and opportunities--which means (usually) more than ten lines of poetry or a few paragraphs of prose.

For example, you might narrate a household debate in the manner of Robert Browning, or look at some topic in the manner of Elizabeth Barrett Browning, or offer insights into your relationship in the manner of Meredith (!), or chronicle a temptation in the manner of Rossetti. You could comment on local events or characters in the manner of Hardy, discuss university politics using Yeats' voice, or come up with some pithy Wildean epigrams about the English department. The choices are endless.

To get full credit for this assignment, your composition should include at least a typed page of explication and analysis, showing your understanding of the genre you are imitating, and discussing what you learned as you adapted your thoughts and words to that genre or mode of writing. Take us inside your composing process and let this exercise shed light on the whole quarter's analytical reading, on the ways you have learned what makes this writer's work this writer's work.

We will quickly assign a grade from one to five on this exercise; if you have a quiz that you bombed or missed, this extra assignment will count for it. If you didn't bomb or miss a quiz and do well on this assignment, your imitation counts as extra credit and can bump your course grade one-third of a step.

Last updated: 4 June 2000