There are dangers for an artist in any academic environment. Academia rewards people who know their own minds and have developed an ironclad confidence in speaking them. That kind of assurance is death for an artist.
I studied with [James] Wood as an undergraduate and still marvel at the gap between Wood’s professional reputation and his personal demeanor. In the classroom, Wood was quirky and warm. While puzzling over a complex passage, he would vigorously rub the top of his head, as if hoping to coax interpretive brilliance from his bald spot like a genie from a lamp