Program Details

Guided Discussion: Exploring Ideas: Best Early 20th Century American Essays - Boca Raton

Christine Kassover

Course Description

Join us as we travel back in time to visit the works of “cultivated literati” and “hard young socialists” at the start of the last century. We will read early 20th-century rhetoric – sampling personal, critical, philosophical, humorous, autobiographical, and political voices, to explore how the essay form allowed these writers to engage with the masses through America’s mainstream magazines. In readings inspired by The Best American Essays of the Century, edited by Joyce Carol Oates, and through purposeful discussion, we will analyze “where we’ve come from, and who we are, and where we are going.” The art form of the essay serves as the ideal vehicle to provoke, disturb, and arouse emotions through the directedness and intimacy of first-person authority. Space is limited.


  1. Essays/Writers from 1900-1910:  “Of the Coming of John” by W.E.B. Du Bois, “Stickeen” by John Muir
  2. Essays/Writers from 1910 to 1915: “The Handicapped” by Randolph Bourne, “Coatesville” by John Jay Chapman
  3. Essays/Writers from 1915 to early 1920s: “Tradition and the Individual Talent” by T.S. Elliot, “Pamplona in July” by Ernest Hemingway
  4. Essays/Writers from late 1925-1930: “The Hills of Zion” by H. L. Mencken, “How it Feels to be Colored Me” by Zora Neal Hurston

About the Instructor

  • Christine Kassover is an Instructor and tutor at FAU and Palm Beach State College specializing in English for Academic Purposes reading and writing and higher education verbal test preparation. She received her Bachelor's degree in communication from FAU and her Master's in communication from the University of Miami. Prior to entering the field of academics, she served as the Director of Communications for Greater Boca Raton Chamber of Commerce and for Lynn Insurance Group. Committed to continuing her involvement in the FAU community, she served as president of the FAU National Alumni Association for two terms and was a founding member of the Parliament of Owls.