Wallace had his reasons for grammatical zealotry in the classroom, but it wasn’t about being Gradgrindian or prescriptive. I think Wallace is rightly understood as a moral writer – so much of his work explores what it means not just to be human, but to be a good human – but he was also an ethical one. He was always talking about a writer’s responsibilities: the responsibility to be clear, the responsibility to be interesting. Because Wallace’s work could be difficult, because he asked the reader to work, he wanted to be sure he was doing his work too, saying exactly what he intended, in a way that was compelling. Another entry from my notebook: ‘If you’re more interested in what you’re saying than the person listening to you is, you’re the definition of a boring person.’ I remember feeling like I’d been slapped with a stick.