The University of Iowa

Research in the Essay

Course Work

In this Eleventh hour, Timothy Bascom will discuss the personal essay in order to demonstrate the ways in which this form, typically focused on autobiographical events, can be driven by research instead. Genre-shaping essayists such as Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, David Foster Wallace, and Eula Biss have demonstrated that what we call “personal” is not limited to what we remember internally. Timothy will show us how sometimes we have to go outside the self and explore our way toward unexpected discoveries, arriving at even-more-rich realities that would have eluded us if we turned inward. He will provide examples of  the ways that research can be conducted and integrated into a personal essay, lifting it to a vivid and universally engaging level.


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