Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Purpose of Literature

Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed.

The ancient commission of the writer has not changed. He is charged with exposing our many grievous faults and failures, with dredging up to the light our dark and dangerous dreams for the purpose of improvement.

So that today, St. John the apostle may well be paraphrased: In the end is the Word, and the Word is Man - and the Word is with Men.
                                        --my favorite lines from Steinbeck's Nobel Prize Speech in 1962

Dear John Steinbeck,
Thank you for writing literature that I have the PRIVILEGE of sharing with my students year after year.
Introducing you to them is one of the greatest parts of my career.

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