The Imaginative Argument: A Practical Manifesto for Writers / Edition 1

Paperback (Print)
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $6.03
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 80%)
Other sellers (Paperback)
  • All (31) from $6.03   
  • New (6) from $18.98   
  • Used (25) from $6.03   

Overview

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.

Read More Show Less

What People Are Saying

Murray Sperber
The Imaginative Argument is the culmination of many years of thought and practice, the summing up of a lifetime dedicated to reading, writing, teaching composition, and, above all, thinking about writing and its connection to the imagination. Anyone interested in the process of writing will learn a great deal from this book. Anyone who teaches writing will learn even more—new and useful techniques for their classroom. And, most important of all, students will learn bold and efficient ways to master college writing.
Murray Sperber, Professor Emeritus of English, Indiana University, Bloomington
Valerie Sayers
Frank Cioffi's manifesto is intellectually rigorous, but it is also passionate, stylish, meticulous, idiosyncratic, and unique among college writing texts. Its insistence on wholly original writing—hence, wholly original thinking—is heartening. Indeed, The Imaginative Argument is a model of the kind of writing college students should be producing.
Valerie Sayers, author of "Due East and Brain Fever", and Professor of Creative Writing, University of Notre Dame
Adams
Would that I had read this book or taken Frank Cioffi's class fifty years ago. Better yet, I wish the contents of this book resided in the minds of all of us who produce soporific sentences in the name of 'technical' or 'professional' writing. If it did, we would all benefit. God knows I would read more technical papers. And kudos to the author for nicely making the point that creative writing is not solely the property of those who write fiction.
James L. Adams, Stanford University, author of "Conceptual Blockbusting"
William Germano
It's not enough to have an opinion or an idea. Writing well means making your reader follow, understand, agree or disagree, care. To do that you'll need the 'imaginative argument' Frank Cioffi explores here. With its sympathetic diagnoses of writing goals and writing problems, this useful book celebrates the kind of writing that actually gets work done.
William Germano, author of "From Dissertation to Book"
Kathryn Watterson
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
Guy
This book is a significant contribution to the expository writing field. Cioffi's ideas about imagination and his suggestions for teaching it are brilliant and provocative. His own writing is consistently sparkling, frequently witty, and serves as a model for students.
Alfred E. Guy, Jr., Yale University
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691122908
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 3/14/2005
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 238,665
  • Product dimensions: 6.16 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Frank L. Cioffi has taught writing at Gdansk University, Princeton University, Bard College, and Scripps College. He is the author of "Formula Fiction? An Anatomy of American Science Fiction, 1930-40".
Read More Show Less

Table of Contents


Preface xi
Acknowledgments xxi
Chapter 1: An Introduction to the Writing of Essays 1
Chapter 2: Audience, or For Whom Are You Writing? 12
Chapter 3: Prewriting and the Writing Process 31
Chapter 4: The Thesis 43
Chapter 5: Saying Something New: Ways toward Creativity 61
Chapter 6: Paragraph Design 72
Chapter 7: Developing an Argument 85
Chapter 8: Different Structures, Novel Organizational Principles 104
Chapter 9: The Imaginative Research Paper 116
Chapter 10: Figures and Fallacies, or Being Forceful but Not Cheating at Argument 135
Chapter 11: The Argument of Style 149
Chapter 12: Concluding a Manifesto: The Future of Writing 172
Appendix I. Sample Essays 183
Appendix II. Writing Prompts 202
Works Cited 209
Index 215
Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 1 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(1)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously
Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 29, 2013

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews

If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
Why is this product inappropriate?
Comments (optional)