A first-year college rhetoric now in its fifth edition, CEL teaches students how to invent increasingly sophisticated ideas.

This book goes back to the pre-Socratic Greeks—to the ancient idea that language is, first and foremost, an idea maker. It doesn’t communicate; it generates. That’s the basic assumption that drives The Composition of Everyday Life.

In practical terms, this book invites students and teachers to approach common writing assignments with the primary goal of generating new insights. The chapters present questions that drive thinking forward—away from the usual, the cliché, the obvious and into increasingly complex layers. As a teaching tool, CEL helps instructors to pull students away from distant topics, intellectual dead zones, and into an examination of their own lives—the quiet tensions that swirl around them on a daily basis.