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The Imaginative Argument : A Practical Manifesto for Writers - Frank L. Cioffi

The Imaginative Argument

A Practical Manifesto for Writers

Paperback Published: 3rd April 2005
ISBN: 9780691122908
Number Of Pages: 256

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More than merely a writing text, "The Imaginative Argument" offers writers instruction on how to use their imaginations to improve their prose. Cioffi shows writers how they can enliven argument--the organizing rubric of all persuasive writing--by drawing on emotion, soul, and creativity, the wellsprings of imagination. While Cioffi suggests that argument should become a natural habit of mind for writers, he goes still further, inspiring writers to adopt as their gold standard the "imaginative" argument: the surprising yet strikingly apt insight that organizes disparate noises into music, that makes out of chaos, chaos theory.

Rather than offering a model of writing based on established formulas or templates, Cioffi urges writers to envision argument as an active parsing of experience that imaginatively reinvents the world. Cioffi's manifesto asserts that successful argument also requires writers to explore their own deep-seated feelings, to exploit the fuzzy but often profoundly insightful logic of the imagination.

But expression is not all that matters: Cioffi's work anchors itself in the actual. Drawing on Louis Kahn's notion that a good architect never has all the answers to a building's problems before its physical construction, Cioffi maintains that in argument, too, answers must be forged along the way, as the writer inventively deals with emergent problems and unforeseen complexities. Indeed, discovery, imagination, and invention suffuse all stages of the process.

"The Imaginative Argument" offers all the intellectual kindling that writers need to ignite this creativity, from insights on developing ideas to avoiding bland assertions or logical leaps. It cites exemplary nonfiction prose stylists, including William James, Ruth Benedict, and Erving Goffman, as well as literary sources to demonstrate the dynamic of persuasive writing. Provocative and lively, it will prove not only essential reading but also inspiration for all those interested in arguing more imaginatively more successfully.

"The Imaginative Argument is an extremely useful writing guide. Cioffi makes a good case for the importance of writing in our day-to-day lives - as a tool for clarifying our thoughts, persuading others, and enhancing our lives. Writing teachers as well as students will find it interesting and accessible." - Kathryn Watterson, University of Pennsylvania"

Preface xi
Acknowledgments xxi
An Introduction to the Writing of Essays 1
Audience, or For Whom Are You Writing? 12
Prewriting and the Writing Process 31
The Thesis 43
Saying Something New: Ways toward Creativity 61
Paragraph Design 72
Developing an Argument 85
Different Structures, Novel Organizational Principles 104
The Imaginative Research Paper 116
Figures and Fallacies, or Being Forceful but Not Cheating at Argument 135
The Argument of Style 149
Concluding a Manifesto: The Future of Writing 172
Sample Essays 183
Writing Prompts 202
Works Cited 209
Index 215
Table of Contents provided by Publisher. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780691122908
ISBN-10: 0691122903
Audience: Tertiary; University or College
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 256
Published: 3rd April 2005
Country of Publication: US
Dimensions (cm): 23.52 x 15.9  x 1.65
Weight (kg): 0.37