The idea for this book came from an observation: that some ‘traditional’ approaches to creative writing in the academy still seemed to hang on the two thousand-year old advice of Plato in
The poet is an airy thing, winged and holy, and he is not able to make poetry until he becomes inspired and goes out of his mind.
(Leitch 2001: 35)
In other words, the writer all but abandons the critical faculty with which he or she has been inculcated elsewhere when studying texts and devotes all energy to self-expression. The assumption often (but not always) appears to be that beginning writers (or any writer at all) will write well if pushed in at the deep end and asked to produce full stories and poems, or to ‘just write’. While, self-evidently, this may well produce good results in some cases, I wondered whether there was not something to be drawn from more critical, theoretical approaches to the discipline – especially, as so often, when it is being practised in an academic context.