A team-taught seminar, this course focuses on the elements that constitute
a strong writing style and on how writers concerned with political and
cultural issues deploy various rhetorical techniques in order to entertain
and outrage, provoke and inspire. A part of the class, consisting of a close
evaluation of student essays in cultural criticism, is under the direction of
Ms. Monroe, during which students read key texts by a variety of cultural
critics, including Matthew Arnold, Mark Twain, W.E.B. DuBois, H.L.
Mencken, George Orwell, Jean-Paul Sartre, Lionel Trilling, Susan Sontag,
Joan Didion, and Edward Said. In the sessions that he leads, Mr. Hitchens
analyzes several exemplary cultural critics and discuss his own experience
as a public intellectual. Our goal is to understand better how cultural
critics make specific literary choices in order to elicit a political and cultural
response from their readers.