From a 1934 letter to Egbert Samuel Oliver, the twenty-ninth professor who wrote to Willa Cather on the subject of teaching creative writing in college. Cather referred to it as “‘Creative Writing,’” and she called the attempt to teach it “sheer nonsense”:
I do wish that colleges taught people to write passably clear and correct English, however. More than half of the twenty-eight professors who have written to me within the last few months were quite unable to use “which” and “that” and “would” and “should” correctly — at least, they did not honor me by using them correctly in their letters of request. They made many other errors of the same sort, which a well-trained high school student avoids.I wonder if Cather kept a copy of Fowler’s Modern English Usage on her desk. That and which: sounds like a Fowlerite to me.
The Selected Letters of Willa Cather, ed. Andrew Jewell and Janis Stout (New York: Knopf, 2013).
Bryan Garner glosses snoot