25 April 2016—China's Lunar Calendar 2016 04-25
|[a] Text and illustration RF|
|[b] Reaching, teaching RF|
Teach it, really (think of the New York Review).
The nonfiction writer John McPhee explains to his Princeton students that a letter is often precisely the solution to challenges of interpretation or clarity—when in doubt, write to mother, he says. In this case, it is not a plea of “send money” that the letter contains, but a reworking, rethinking, and contextualization of your work. You need not limit yourself to kinfolk, but you need to think about who the recipient will be (ideally someone who will welcome a letter about Confucius and historical thought).
You owe it to yourself to listen to this long interview with McPhee (but I know that you are pressed for time). At the very least, though, listen to the first few minutes. It is the very purpose that lies behind this assignment.
Click on the second blue circle on the right side of the page (it is worth it)
Your reader probably doesn't, and this letter really will be sent.
Make it make sense.
"historical thinking?" Provide your reader with at least a few ways of thinking
d. Give your reader a sense of how a person or group might "live" the teachings of
Confucius. How is it a book that might go beyond the classroom, school, or test?
e. You must have at least one illustration. Think about "the rhetorical role of
illustrations" in the New York Review of Books.
Voilà you will have something not unlike what Alexis de Tocqueville might have written about understanding a complex, foreign culture that baffled and enticed him 180 years ago. While your letter won’t be as long as Democracy in America, it is likely—if it is done well—to be much like Tocqueville’s rich and evocative letters back to his family about encountering people, texts, and institutions in a strange land called the United States.
You get the idea. If you don't, just send me an e-mail message). I'll be happy to help.
|[e] And then you may rest RF|