Stale Art

On my mind–Emig citing Jakobovits.  Any guesses when Jakobovits
likened composition to stale art?:

The linguist Leon A. Jakobovits suggests that "stale art" is
algorithmic–that is, it is produced by a known algorithm, "defined as a
computational device that specifies the order and nature of the steps to be
followed in the generation of a sequence." One could say that the major
kind of essay too many students have been taught to write in American schools
is algorithmic, or so mechanical that a computer could readily be programmed
to produce it: when a student is hurried or anxious, he simply reverts or
regresses to the only program he knows, as if inserting a single card into his

From Janet Emig’s "Lynn: Profile of a Twelfth-Grade Writer."


  1. Emig’s book had great influence on me when I read it circa 1978. She helped me to see the importance of looking carefully at what each student is writing and responding to that person, not some construct of what I think the paper should look like.

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