Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Faulkner on hope and compassion

Apparently, William Faulkner did not like to make speeches. "I'm just a farmer who likes to tell stories", he said. In 1950, however, he won the Nobel Prize for Literature and had to travel to Stockholm and give an address. In his very brief speech Faulkner talks about the fate of man, hope and compassion:
I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.

You can read the full text of the speech here. It is beautiful.

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Photo via La Periodica Revision Dominical

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