Jamie raises an interesting point . . .

> Though I, as noted, have never seen (as student, teacher or
> citizen-reader) the famous 5-para essay, 

I have, but _only_ in the context of writing courses.  I've 
never seen one in the wild (but on the other hand, I can't 
remember ever seeing any of the other academic essay formats we 
teach (or use for teaching) in the wild, either.

> If I had to guess, I'd guess that the form was created out of
> thin air (i.e., with few real-world antecedents) by teachers
> for teaching purposes (for better or worse).  

Yep. But I think I'd argue that the 5pe is just a special case 
of a much larger problem with "academic" (= class-based) writing 

-- Russ
St. Thomas University

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