December 1st, 2010 / 4:15 pm

Peter Taylor on His Teachers

(from Conversations with Peter Taylor, edited by Hubert H. McAlexander)


  1. Justindtaylor

      I like what Taylor (no relation) has got to say here, especially about imitation as a pathway to learning structure. Thanks for this.

  2. Mike Meginnis

      Have been mulling over this today, think the reason I don’t like it is I always suspect guys saying this are more fantasizing about idealized experiences than describing accurately what actually happened.

      I suspect none of my instructors could describe accurately how I work + learn, and that few could manage it with their students, because they are probably not paying that much attention. (Not a criticism, as I don’t see that they should know what I’m doing beyond what they’re seeing, just saying.)

  3. deadgod

      ‘Encouraging strengths’ is fine, and – to agree with Justin – so is imitating successful causes to gain one’s own effects.

      But what in Lawrence and Joyce justifies the comparison made here? What in Lawrence’s prose the result of a greater “natural gift” than what’s in Joyce’s prose?

  4. Charles Dodd White

      deadgod, I was struck by the same thing. It seemed an odd and arbitrary comparison. I think a more appropriate example for this theory would be someone like Rimbaud, someone starkly original, almost preternatural, without the “practiced” quality of the plainly wrought work of Joyce, even though I know that’s kind of goofy in its own right. I also know, getting down to if a “natural gift” in its own right is even possible is inherently problematic.

      Kyle, I like Taylor. And I like what he has to say about grim determination. It implies a monastic quality in writing I find to be very true.

  5. Kyle Minor

      My favorite Peter Taylor story is “The Old Forest,” which says more about the workings of time upon ways of being in the world than anything else I’ve ever read, and which is a fantastic mystery story to boot.