Tuesday, 29 August 2006

A Review of the Review of Prose’s Reading Like a Writer.

Sharon yesterday highlighted Emily Barton's review, in the New York Times, of Francine Prose's Reading Like a Writer. But Scott Esposito gets a bit riled up over said review and deems it necessary to critique:
And what’s with the self-questioning of whether writing can be taught or whether or not the teachers will “have any success”? First of all, what does “success” mean here, exactly? Are we talking Man Booker Prize success? Then, um, no, Prof. Barton. Probably not. Are we talking practicing writing and reading a whole bunch in order to exercise one’s creativity in a way that makes one feel like they’re the agent of their own destiny? Then, yes, Prof. Barton, I think we’re onto something. I keep wishing I could see some other type of instructor go through these kind of tortured involutions, like a welding instructor, maybe. Or I wish I could read a good essay about pedagogical self-doubt by a football coach. That would be actually interesting. I wish that all writing instructors who were having doubts would do themselves and their students a favor: go home. Get another job. Try office work. It does the body good.
He then goes on to give his own suggestions for books about writing, which happen to be Rust Hills's Writing in General and the Short Story in Particular and Wayne Booth’s The Rhetoric of Fiction.

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