Emily Gould

Undergraduate Discipline


BA, Eugene Lang College. Author of And The Heart Says Whatever, an essay collection, and Friendship, a novel. SLC, 2017–

Undergraduate Courses 2017-2018


Compassion and Contempt

Open , Seminar—Fall

Experienced writers who seek to prove that they are wise—and young writers who seek to prove that they are experienced—are often guilty of the same sin: We cultivate a jaded, cynical tone that's hypercritical of everyone and everything that ​we encounter. This can be very effective; in fiction, readers tend to trust narrators or point-of-view characters who see their worlds through a dark lens. But as cynicism becomes ​the ​default mode of discourse, its effect is blunted. Just as insidious as knee-jerk contemptuousness, though, is anodyne, upbeat blandness. Can we find a middle ground that enables us to stay true to our beliefs? How can fiction writers make their opinions clear without ​resorting to caricature? In this ​workshop, we’ll examine what it means to write with compassion and with contempt, using both modes as tools in a series of creative exercises that will build to longer-form stories or lyric essays. Authors ​we’ll read ​may include Philip Roth, Jonathan Franzen, Meaghan Daum, Rachel Aviv, and Myriam Gurba.