Print Study Room: Speculative Nonfiction

“Speculative Nonfiction Workshop” with Associate Professor of English Melora Wolff

Are the words nonfiction and speculation at odds? This online creative writing workshop explores the effects of speculative prose in literary essays about visual art, history, and politics. How does empirical knowledge, conveyed in nonfiction by documented facts, invite or demand imaginative style? How do we clarify and amplify facts through the art of speculation? In this class, students will choose art from the Tang collection to inspire their own speculative nonfiction essays.

Assignment

How do literary essays on visual art employ psychological speculation to explain or animate the image? What rhetorical techniques activate inscribed effects of visual art? Write a speculative essay on one artwork from the Tang Museum. Your speculative essay should reveal, amplify, and explore the content of the work through personal associations, memories, inquiries, and sensory description. Your essay must document the visible elements and acknowledge the invisible elements of the visual art. Allow memoir to converse with objective fact, as you write the effects of image on consciousness.
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