Luis Menand on the idea of college. Via Mark Bernstein. Menand writes
When he is not taking on trends in modern thought, Professor X is shrewd about the reasons itâ€™s hard to teach underprepared students how to write. â€œI have come to think,â€ he says, â€œthat the two most crucial ingredients in the mysterious mix that makes a good writer may be (1) having read enough throughout a lifetime to have internalized the rhythms of the written word, and (2) refining the ability to mimic those rhythms.â€ This makes sense. If you read a lot of sentences, then you start to think in sentences, and if you think in sentences, then you can write sentences, because you know what a sentence sounds like. Someone who has reached the age of eighteen or twenty and has never been a reader is not going to become a writer in fifteen weeks. On the other hand, itâ€™s not a bad thing for such a person to see what caring about â€œthings that probably arenâ€™t that exciting to most peopleâ€ looks like. A lot of teaching is modelling.