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Available now from The Great Courses: "Great American Short Stories," a lecture series with Jennifer Cognard-Black

“Great American Short Stories:  A Guide for Writers and Readers” considers the history, the craft, and the art of this distinctive national genre for booklovers and writers alike.

The short story is a classic American form, part of our national literature that emerged out of immigrant and indigenous tales. This course traces the American short story from early examples of supernatural, mythic, and whimsical work by Washington Irving, Nathaniel Hawthorne, and Edgar Allan Poe to more realistic and experimental stories by modern masters Ernest Hemingway, Donald Barthelme, Jhumpa Lahiri, ZZ Packer, and others. Professor Cognard-Black teaches you how to read and interpret these tales with an expert’s eye. Additionally, Cognard-Black also trains you in how to transform your own lived experiences into original short stories of your own, and she offers up examples of her own and her students' work to help you along the way.


"Becoming a Great Essayist," a lecture series with Jennifer Cognard-Black through The Great Courses

If you have a clever anecdote, an interesting memory, a new way to explain how something works, or an opinion on a social or political issue, then you have an essay in you.  Discover the keys to unlocking your potential in essay writing through "Becoming a Great Essayist" with Professor Jennifer Cognard-Black.

The course was exactly what I needed. It is outstanding in every way. Not only have Professor Cognard-Black’s classes inspired me to work harder on my current essay; she has also stimulated my interest in writing about other subjects (such as recipes) or in other modes (such as the epistolary). The professor is enthusiastic, smart, and extremely knowledgeable. I listened to every lecture at least twice, learning more each time. Thank you for making this course available.
— Dr. Martha Grace from Atlanta, Georgia:
I thoroughly enjoyed this course. The content, examples, and approach helped me to refine my current essay and explore ideas for future work. Dr. Cognard-Black was excellent. I learned a great deal and appreciated her style, which was inviting, insightful, and encouraging.
— Rocky Mountain Quill from Denver, Colorado
I have completed several Great Courses lectures, and this is one of my favorites. Jennifer Cognard-Black is truly an inspiring teacher. I especially appreciated the way she used her own drafts and her students’ work as accessible examples. She provided many good historical examples and led me to additional resources as well. She even made topics I was not excited about initially (such as writing about recipes) exciting. I plan to use some of the ideas I learned in the class in my advanced composition class this fall.
— English Professor from Storm Lake, Iowa
I write. I cook. I travel. I read. I mother. I teach. I edit. I collaborate. Walt Whitman once wrote that we humans contains multitudes, and I see my own life's work to expand the known while seeking the new. Food is an ideal metaphor for what I mean: a homemade cake is both comfort and challenge, whereas finishing my first  tarte tatin  made my fingers tingle, my toes curl. When I spend myself with heat and energy, I am teacher, feminist, writer, editor. When I seek stillness and beauty, I am reader and cook. When I am curious, I travel. And when I wish to connect—as E. M. Forster said, “Only connect”—I am mother, spouse, friend, and collaborator. Welcome to my site.

I write. I cook. I travel. I read. I teach. I edit. I collaborate. Walt Whitman once wrote that we humans contain multitudes, and I see my own life's work to expand the known while seeking the new. Food is an apt metaphor: a homemade cake is both comfort and challenge, whereas finishing my first tarte tatin made my fingers tingle, my toes curl. When I spend myself with heat and energy, I am teacher, activist, writer, editor. When I seek stillness and beauty, I am reader and cook. And when I wish to connect—as E. M. Forster famously said, “Only connect”—I am mother, spouse, friend, and collaborator. Welcome to my site.



From Curlers to Chainsaws: Women and Their Machines

Winner of the 2016 Independent Publisher Book Awards.

AVAILABLE FROM MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY PRESS

Edited by Joyce Dyer, Jennifer Cognard-Black, and Elizabeth MacLeod Walls

“The toothsome essays found in From Curlers to Chainsaws...discover relentlessly revved and ready answers in the existential engineering of our everyday appliances and devices. These are works of stunning effort and raw oomph. These writers ratchet and roll, calculate and calibrate. They enter elegantly the number of ways nothing goes into the infinite.”

— Michael Martone, author of Winesburg, Indiana

“This is a book full of mechanized pleasures and frustrations unto torture, but more important, a book of women’s voices so clear and diverse and funny and heartbreakingly individual that you hurry from one to the next, even as you wish to linger longer with all. A smart and useful and wise anthology....”

— Bill Roorbach, author of Life among Giants

Learn more...

Books That Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal

AVAILABLE FROM NYU PRESS

Edited by Jennifer Cognard-Black and Melissa A. Goldthwaite, with a Foreword by Marion Nestle

"Books That Cook is more than simply another anthology; it’s a living text to be taken into the kitchen and spattered with sauces and gravy. In short, it’s meant to cook."

— John S. Sledge, Virginia Quarterly Review

"A buffet of poems, stories, essays and recipes.... Food lovers and cookbook collectors will savor this literary stew."

— Kirkus Reviews

Whether a five-star chef or beginning home cook, any gourmand knows that recipes are far more than a set of instructions on how to make a dish. They are culture-keepers as well as culture-makers, both recording memories and fostering new ones. 

Organized like a cookbook, Books that Cook: The Making of a Literary Meal is a collection of American literature written on the theme of food: from an invocation to a final toast, from starters to desserts. Learn more...