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Why Write?


by John T. Gage 1986

The ideological, or philosophical, assumptions behind composition will concern me in this essay. It is necessary that I write somewhat abstractly, although I do not wish to ignore some practical implications that follow from such a concern. I trust that the essays in the rest of this volume will adequately survey available techniques of teaching composition. In discussing the justifications that might support such techniques, however, I would like to begin with a reminder that these justifications are not of recent origin. They are not responses to any recent "literary crisis," but echo the earliest attempts to reason about human knowledge and its relation to the written word. I want to begin, therefore, with a sketch of some ancient responses to the question "Why write?" These responses raise issues that are never resolved once and for all but require rethinking by every generation.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 85, No. 2.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 87 Number 6, 1986, p. 8-29
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 19039, Date Accessed: 12/18/2017 9:33:45 AM

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