Re: Innate ability

Subject: Re: Innate ability
From: Stephen Victor <svictor -at- LGC -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 10 May 1995 10:12:40 CDT

Sue Stewart writes:

> Okay. How about:

> Chaucer
> Shakespeare
> Austen
> Poe
> Frost
> etc. for many gigabytes

> Do you really believe *anyone* can be taught to write at that level?
> Particularly when many great writers -- especially those earlier ones -- had
> little or no "training" in writing at all, since such did not exist?
> sue stewart
> suepstewrt -at- aol -dot- com

I must disagree with you here. The teaching of composition (known in earlier
days as "rhetoric") has a fine and ancient history, beginning with Aristotle,
continuing to the likes of Sir Philip Sidney, down to the present day. While
the writers you mention didn't "learn" the genius that makes them great, they
did learn time-honored principles of crafting effective documents, the same
principles we use and discuss today.

I do agree with your primary point that instruction in writing cannot replace
innate ability. It can, however, inform and shape it for the better.

Stephen Victor

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