But tradition is useful to the writer only insofar as the writer is unconscious of its use; only insofar as it is invisible and inaudible; only insofar as the writer breathes it in with the air; only insofar as principled awareness and teacherliness are absent; only insofar as┬áthe writer is deaf to the pressure of the collectivity. What could be more treacherous to the genuine nature of the literary impulse than to mistake the writer for a communal leader, or for the sober avatar of a glorious heritage? No writer is trustworthy or steady enough for that…

Cynthia Ozick, The Din in the Head (2006)

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