Stanley Fish, Full of Ethos

Few bloggers are as full of ethos as Stanley Fish – as he frequently reminds us. He’s lately been waxing on the teaching of writing. He’s simply trying to challenge his community.

We like that Fish recently invoked Francis Christensen’s generative rhetoric (though he doesn’t mention Erskine). And Fish didn’t trash E. B. White, though he did question our ability to annotate him meaningfully for the modern student who knows no terms, and he seems to have skipped over White’s dictum to “omit needless words.”

Stanley’s wrestling with the protean snake of the sentence strikes us as heroic, a last stand against the philistines who would text, twitter, and roll rather than read to the floor of the ocean, write cursively, on paper, and stroll.

Speaking of music: if one aspires to be a musician – classical, jazz, rock, zydeco – one listens; one listens to the music of the discipline. Why would it not be just so with one who aspires to be a writer? An aspiring writer should read, just as an aspiring musician listens.

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