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.