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General Essay Guidelines

1. Your essay should abide by the stylistic and structural rules of an academic essay, i.e., it
should be written in a clear, objective and argumentative manner, and include clearly
delimited parts:
a. Introduction: essay aim, steps to be followed in your analysis, key terms, critical
methodology (critical theories and/or concepts to be employed in your
b. Body: presentation of several arguments in support of your thesis, to be
illustrated by relevant excerpts from the primary text
c. Conclusion: results of argumentation
d. Works Cited list (in accordance with MLA style; see page 2 of this document).
2. Your essay will be assessed in terms of (1) argumentative coherence and clarity of ideas,
(2) quality of textual analysis and use of critical sources (3) academic style (adequate
register, grammar, and spelling).
3. The use of at least two critical sources is mandatory. All sources have to be properly
referenced. Please note that such websites as,,,, etc. do not represent reliable sources for
college-level academic research! You should use authoritative academic sources, e.g.,
the books in the course and seminar bibliography, Cambridge Companions, authorspecific criticism, general literary and cultural theory (e.g., the reader edited by R.
Surdulescu and B. Stefanescu, or other anthologies), literary histories (e.g., The
Cambridge History of American Literature), articles indexed in scholarly databases such
as JSTOR or Project Muse etc.
4. Plagiarism will result in a 0 for the assignment.
Topic: one of the topics in the Essay and Presentation Topics List/ a topic of your choice
approved by the seminar instructor.
Length: 1600 (min.) -2000 (max.) words.
Formatting: Microsoft Word, Times New Roman 12; 1.5 line spacing; normal margins.
The document should be named in the following manner: Last Name_First Name_3A.
Deadline: January 20, 12.00 (noon) via email ( + hard copy (my
pigeonhole, Catedra/ Room 4)
Course & Seminar Bibliography
Bercovitch, Sacvan. The Rites of Assent. Transformations in the Symbolic Construction of
America. NY: Routledge, 1993. [chapters on Emerson, Hawthorne]**
Brooks, Cleanth et al. American Literature. The Makers and the Making.
Conn, Peter. O istorie a literaturii americane. Bucharest: Univers, 1998.
Dumitriu, Geta. Nineteenth Century American Fiction. Bucharest: EUB, 1985.
Elliott, Emory (ed.). Columbia Literary History of the United States. New York: Columbia
University Press, 1988.**
Martin, Wendy. The Cambridge Companion to Emily Dickinson. Cambridge: Cambridge UP,
Mathiessen, F.O. The American Renaissance. Art and Expression in the Age of Emerson and

Whitman. Oxford: Oxford UP, 1968. [chapters on Emerson, Thoreau, Hawthorne,

Melville, Whitman] **
Mihail, Rodica. Spaii ale realului in proza american. Brasov, Concordia, 2000. [chapters on
Douglass, Twain, Howells, James] **
Pizer, Donald. The Cambridge Companion to American Realism and Naturalism. Cambridge:
Cambridge UP, 1995. [chapters on James, Twain, Dreiser] **
Oltean, Roxana. Spaces of Utopia in the Writings of Henry James. Bucharest: EUB, 2005.**
Sollors, Werner and Greil Marcus (eds.). A New Literary History of America. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard UP, 2009.**
** - books available at the American Studies Library (Room 4).

MLA Citation Style

For further reference, see:

Cite a book as follows:

Kymlicka, Will. Liberalism, Community, and Culture. Oxford: Oxford University Press,
1989. Print.

Cite a chapter in an edited book (essay collection) as follows:

Bergoffen, Debra B. 9/11: America and the Politics of Innocence. Difficulties of Ethical
Life. Eds. Shannon Sullivan and Deniss J. Schmidt. NY: Fordham University Press,
2008. 72 86. Print.

Cite an article in an academic journal as follows:

Mihil, Rodica. The Falling Man of the 9/11 Novel. University of Bucharest Review
10.1 (2008): 21 25. Print.

Cite an article on a website as follows:

Sorrentino, Christopher. Modern Times. Review of Thomas Pynchons Against the Day.
Los Angeles Times. 19 Nov. 2006. Web. 4 May 2012.

In-text citation for shorter quotes:

Similarly describing the ghost as the merging of the visible and the invisible, the dead
and the living, the past and the present (Gordon 24), Avery F. Gordons influential study
Ghostly Matters: Haunting and the Sociological Imagination proposes an inquiry into the
social and political effects of haunting, seen as a constituent element of modern social
life (7) whose import has been largely overlooked in social theory.

Longer quotes (more than 4 lines of text):

More specifically, as Derrida stresses, opening a dialogue with the ghost implies a

form of responsibility towards both the past (the dead) and the future (the unborn). As he
[i]t is necessary to speak of the ghost, indeed to the ghost and with it, from the moment that
no ethics, no politics, whether revolutionary or not, seems possible and thinkable and just
that does not recognize in its principle the respect for those others who are no longer or for
those others who are not yet there, presently living, whether they are already dead or not
yet born. (Derrida xviii)