"Today’s literary professionals are caught between institutional professionalism and the subversive impulse that brought them to literature in the first place. Whereas the mods were defiantly stylish and mildly rebellious while longing for a greater degree of respectability, English professors are respectable and professional while longing for the passion and engagement and excitement of literature, the Thing Itself of reading. This Thing—call it insight, inspiration, or truth—whatever it was at first, it wasn’t about wanting to publish papers. It wasn’t about wanting to be right. It wasn’t about wanting to talk well or talk fast. It wasn’t about wanting an open schedule, praise for one’s own thoughts, or (though I’m not sure about this one) sex with admirers. It was about literature telling us something we weren’t getting anywhere else. We stayed up late thinking about it and it changed the way we saw the world the next morning."