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By Bill Benson



How does one recognize great writing in a novel, a work of history, or a scientific treatise? The typical answers include: if it sells 5,000 copies, if it makes the “New York Times Best Seller” list, if it wins a literary prize, if a literary critic gives his or her stamp of approval, or if it is printed for decades.

Each generation of young people discover for themselves the wealth of ideas that they can dig out of Plato’s Dialogues, Ralph Waldo Emerson’s Essays, or Shakespeare’s plays. Those works have lasted.

Another question. How does one recognize a great teacher?

Years ago...

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