Directed toward professionals in the field (or those in the making), this account lets readers in on David Bartholomae’s ways of thinking, reading, writing, and engaging with students in the context of a vibrantly evolving field. Bartholomae provides a well-rendered view of what it means to build a career, and as always, he inspires us all to believe in the critical importance of the work that we do as we find joy in the humanity with which we do it.
David Bartholomae has been a prominent figure in the field of composition and rhetoric for almost five decades. This is an end-of-career book, a collection of late essays that reflect on the teaching of reading and writing, on the challenges and value of students’ work, and on the place of English in the university curriculum. The chapters are unified by a thread that connects some of the books and ideas, people and places, students and courses that shaped and sustained his work as a scholar and teacher over time. Several chapters present and discuss extended examples of student writing. The essays trace his formation from the early days of “Basic Writing” to his final engagements with study abroad and travel writing, where he had the chance to think again, and in radically different settings, about the fundamental problems of communication across linguistic and cultural divides.
I’ve always admired Dave Bartholomae’s work in writing studies, and I really enjoyed learning more about it here, including material new to me, on teaching travel writing. Bartholomae’s written voice is distinctive and stylish. He describes this as an ‘end-of-career’ book, but if so, it only reminds me how much more I would still like to learn from him.
David Bartholomae is professor of English and the Charles Crow Chair of Expository Writing, emeritus, at the University of Pittsburgh. He has published widely on composition and teaching and was the 2014 Pennsylvania Professor of the Year. With Jean Ferguson Carr, he edits the Composition, Literacy, and Culture series at the University of Pittsburgh Press.