The Elephants Teach: Creative Writing Since 1880
The Elephants Teach is a captivating account of how creative writing has become an integral part of our culture since the last decades of the nineteenth century. A story of the American will-to-art, it also offers a comprehensive reinterpretation of the development of English as a field of study. D.G. Myers argues that English has been split into three rival and antagonist fields: composition, literary scholarship, and the constructive art of literature, which includes both creative writing and literary criticism. He traces this split from the earliest days of the discipline, when it was called philology, through the rise of English composition and the critical wars of the thirties, down to the present. Along the way, he tells how poets and writers turned to university teaching as a means of economic support, restoring a neglected chapter in the history of American authorship and literary education.