Conflict between Imitation and Originality

Read the sections “Preface” and “Imitation” from Nicholas Delbanco’s book Why Writing Matters (2020). Develop an original argument about how Delbanco engages with one or more of the ideas we’ve explored this semester: the role of writing in today’s society, the teaching of writing within universities, the conflict between imitation and originality, etc. Then, write a 1000- to 1200-word essay (approx. 5–6 double-spaced pages) that expresses your argument in clear formal prose. Your essay must include MLA or APA in-text citations and a correctly-formatted Works Cited/References page, and will be graded accordingly. Note that the goal of this assignment is not to evaluate whether the claims of Delbanco’s book are correct, morally “good,” or even technically effective, but rather to identify how they are constructed and to analyze how these characteristics influence a reader’s understanding of the issues under discussion. Each section of your analysis should focus on specific elements of the chapters’ structure (grammar, word choice, sentence and paragraph organization, etc.), their rhetorical techniques, their writerly “voice,” and the audience(s) to which they appeal.You will also locate and cite 1-3 academic secondary sources that will assist you in making your argument. These can include readings from our course syllabus (e.g., Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s Generous Thinking) if relevant to your own claim.

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