Mark Danner

The Nonfiction Novella

Mark Danner
We will focus on reading and analyzing long nonfiction: how it is reported, how it is structured, how it is written. We will do some writing but the emphasis will be on close reading and plenty of it. Authors will include, among others, V.S. Naipaul, Ryszard Kapuscinski, Janet Malcolm, Bruce Chatwin, George Orwell.


January 17: Introduction, The Nonfiction Novella
January 23: V.S. Naipaul, “The Return of Eva Peron,”
George Orwell, “Politics and the English Language,”
George Orwell, “Marrakech”
January 30: Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Soccer War
February 6: Susan Orlean, The Orchid Thief
February 13: Mark Danner, The Massacre at El Mozote
(Paper, “Establishing Voice and Place”)
February 20: John McPhee, A Sense of Where You Are
February 27: Thomas Whiteside, Twiggy and Justin,
George W.S. Trow, Within the Context of No Context [Trow, My Pilgrim’s Progress]*
March 6: Ian Jack, “Gibraltar”
James Fenton, “The Fall of Saigon”
March 13: Lawrence Weschler, Mr. Wilson’s Cabinet of Wonders
March 20: Philip Gourevitch, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will Be Killed with Our Families
V.S. Naipaul, “In A Free State”
April 3: William Finnegan, Cold New World
April 10: Michael Herr, Dispatches
Neil Sheehan, “The Battle of Ap Bac” from A Bright Shining Lie

April 17: Janet Malcolm, The Journalist and the Murderer
Janet Malcolm, The Silent Woman [Janet Malcolm, In the Freud Archives]
April 24: Ryszard Kapuscinski, The Emperor
George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia
Jamaica Kincaid, A Small Place
(Paper on book of choice)

May 1: Bruce Chatwin, In Patagonia [Bruce Chatwin, The Songlines]
[optional route on May 1: Czeslaw Milosz, The Captive Mind, Timothy Garton Ash, The
, Milan Kundera, The Book of Laughter and Forgetting]

May 8: Truman Capote, In Cold Blood
[Norman Mailer, Armies of the Night]