Saturday, July 08, 2006

Some Temporary Last Words

Who wants the last word? It is the Southern joke about taking the last biscuit--how it simply must not be done. So wait until the lights go out.

I don't believe in last words; I subscribe to Faulkner's vision of man continuing to talk even if the world be destroyed.

Why do Faulkner's grand words appeal to me so?

I hope it is not the case of the doctor Zossima quotes in The Brothers Karamazov: "I love humanity, but I wonder at myself. The more I love humanity in general, the less I love man in particular . . . the more I detest men individually the more ardent becomes my love for humanity."

Literature is about love and its failures. Auden's option is not a false dichotomy: "We must love each other or die."

Once a professor and I were discussing something about literature; I cannot remember exactly what. I suggested that reading literature made us better people. He came back with a statement of this spirit, if not these exact words: can you tell me then why people in this English department are so mean?

See Zossima above. Keep reading. Keep trying. I will.


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