Monday, September 10, 2012

William Kennick on writing

William E. Kennick to his students: “I want you to be writers of prose, not processors of words.” Kennick, who taught philosophy at Amherst College, required that undergraduate papers run no more than five pages and draw on primary sources only. David Foster Wallace was among his students. Kennick’s words appear, unsourced, in D. T. Max’s Every Love Story Is a Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace (Viking, 2012). More on the book soon.

[Kennick’s 1958 essay “Does Traditional Aesthetics Rest on a Mistake?” was one of the best — and most lucid — things I read in grad school. I still have my xeroxed copy.]

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