The Undergraduate Essay sets before the student examples of writing from which he can learn what to do and why. Part I of this book consists of six complete essays of average undergraduate length. All are specimens rather than models; these essays are well-written, but they are not faultless. In Part II, the authors define and discuss the principles of sound essay writing by considering in turn the plan, paragraph structure, sentence structure, diction, punctuation, and under the title "The Conventions of Scholarship" the use of footnotes and the preparation of a bibliography. Throughout, the student is urged to study examples, and to think critically and constructively on the problems raised. It follows that The Undergraduate Essay makes no attempt to do the work either of the student of the instructor. It is a text which invites, indeed demands, the co-operative effort of both.
Robin S. Harris (1919-2000) was University Historian and professor emeritus of Higher Education at the University of Toronto.
Robert L. McDougall is a professor emeritus of English at Carleton University. He was the founder and for many years the Director of the Institute of Canadian Studies at Carleton.