Dr. Francis Tobienne Jr.
Verbal & Visual Arts
The expansion essay is 10-15 pages and is to incorporate a comprehensive examination
of the occult tradition as viewed from our opening texts: Tobienne’s The Position of Magic In
Selected Medieval Spanish Texts and Nichols’ Engaging Cinema: An Introduction to Film
Studies up to and including our final film screening for the course in Destino. I will also expect
you to use some, if not most, of the film theory video lectures where applicable and yes, cite
them accordingly in MLA format. Again, in a comprehensive synthesis what have we learned
about the occult tradition as intellectual history through the mediums of literature and film (based
off of their literary analogs of course, and hence justifying the course as Literature and the
Occult in the first place)? Be clear, be specific! And support ALL of your claims with
In this analytical essay then, you are to define and defend the occult within the realm of
literature and film addressing, amidst other inquiries: what is it; where can it be found; what
“destroys” the occult; what advantages are offered through the medium of occultus; what
disadvantages; et cetera (I would go back to the Oxford English Dictionary online, or OED).
Further, being an analysis essay in form, it points out how various parts of the film fit
together systematically; this CAN include, in part, a comparative and contrasting component.
Like a screening report and a critical film review, the analytical essay includes descriptions, but
the descriptions are typically more detailed and extensive. Like the review, the analytical essay
also puts forth the writer’s opinion, but here the opinion does not usually address the ultimate
worth of the film. When you analyze a film, you are defending your view of the ways portions of
the movie work together and in our case how they fit into the scheme of occultus. It might be
interesting, for instance, to bring into your discussion elements of a system or
cataloguing/commodifying of the occult between Isidore of Seville (i.e. Etymologiae) and
Alfonso’s Siete Partidas and his earlier Lapidario alongside the libraries of Andrew and Liana
Telfer, Boris Balkan, Baroness Kesler, the Monkish repository where novices and seasoned, but
rationally—driven monks reside, et cetera. The possibilities and the wealth of resources are at
your beckoning call! Again, make connections between ALL texts and leave no stone unturned
(especially the ones you did not “see” beforehand).
Primarily, the focus of your extended, well-researched essay will be to qualify the
intellectual tradition that is subsumed in, diachronic and synchronic fashion, an occult tradition.
We now KNOW too much of what is meant by the expansion of the unknown; the inexplicable;
the hidden from physical sight as well as from cognitive sensibility. I would go back through
your notes; your papers; our collective prompt responses; et cetera for background matter and
resource aid. Any and all questions should be addressed to my attention ASAP!!! Begin working
on this NOW! No excuses as this one is weighed heavily (see course syllabus for point spread).
Key Questions for an Analytical Essay:
• Do you have a thesis? Is it stated clearly by the end of the first or second paragraph of
your analysis?
• Do you have a series of reasons supporting the thesis? Are these arranged in logical and
convincing order (with the strongest reason coming last)?
• Are your supporting reasons backed up? Do your segmentation and your stylistic analysis
provide specific evidence and examples for each reason you offer?
Dr. Francis Tobienne Jr.
Verbal & Visual Arts
• Does your beginning orient your reader to the direction of your argument?
• Pagination: 10—15 FULL pages of well-researched content (if you are unsure of what I
mean here please just ask; do NOT assume!!!).
• Citation Style: MLA (See Purdue OWL for further information on in text, pagination,
open signatures, Works Cited page, et cetera:
• Warning: You are NOT to simply recycle your previous papers; or merely add
pagination to an already existing work; you CAN take/cull ideas from earlier exercises
and use them appropriately but do NOT cite yourself! If you do this I will take off 25
points! No excuses, and yes I have copies of your earlier work(s) so avoid this please.
• Sources: 12—15 sources of both primary and secondary sources; please note that such
an essay asks for critical and scholarly support texts.
• Due: See CANVAS (as always please submit by the time and date stamp stipulated).
• Late work: will receive an automatic deduction of 25 points! No excuses!