Creative Writing Week Two: Theory and Innovation – T.S Eliot ‘Talent and the Individual’

Today was the first teaching day of the course!  Hurray!  Is it sad that already I could do this every day and never find it boring?

Our day is split into two modules: Theory and Innovation in the morning and Life Writing and Writing Practice in the afternoon.

Our first T and I session with Sam Kelly looked at the T.S Eliot essay, “Tradtion and the Individual Talent’, apparently quite the be and end all to ‘New Criticism’.

It was a very meaty essay with lots of gristle and personally I found it sometimes a little hard to swallow.  I liked bits here and there, agreed with some bits and either disagreed or didn’t understand the point of other bits.  Overall, I felt T.S Eliot was perhaps a mite pompous but having never read any of his work, I feel I may be doing him an injustice and showcasing my own ignorance in the matter.  I like to discover and I like to learn so I have printed out a copy of  The Wasteland to read and will report my findings in a timely manner…or whenever.  My literary criticism skills so far stop at ‘I like it’, ‘I don’t like it’, so I am excited to gain new understanding.

It was interesting to hear other people discussing various points of the essay, and I was struck by my debilitating habit of always being able to see more, and agree with more than three sides to any argument.  Indeed the only thing missing was candles and wine for a perfect discussion.  I was delighted and relieved though when our guest speaker, David Miller, literary agent and director of Rogers, Coleridge & White, openly proclaimed a love of reading for pleasure.  Ah simple things…

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