The most ambitious of the postwar American journalism to appear in magazines like The New Yorker, Harper’s, Esquire and The New York Review of Books gave rise to a new and distinctly indigenous documentary literature, with its own possibilities and poetics. In this class we explore how this body of work redrew the formal boundaries of longform reporting, the profile, the essay, personal history and cultural criticism. We consider the emergence of the narrator as a character, the uses of rhetoric, approaches to the sentence, tone, rhythm, and structure, as well as questions of veracity and credibility. Students try their hand at these forms while responding to readings that include James Baldwin, Ian Frazier, Joseph Mitchell, Joan Didion, David Foster Wallace, Donald Antrim, Janet Malcolm, Alma Guillermoprieto, George W.S. Trow, Lester Bangs, Wells Tower, Fran Leibowitz, Adrian Nicole LeBlanc, Lillian Ross, Adam Gopnik, John Jeremiah Sullivan and Richard Rodriguez.