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Sunday, June 13, 2021

‘Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it’: John Steinbeck

In one breath, American author and the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature winner John Steinbeck reflected on the power of literature

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi |
May 25, 2021 8:15:26 am
john steinbeck, nobel banquet speech, nobel prize acceptance, nobel prize in literature, nobel prize english literature steinbeck, steinbeck nobel prize, indianexpress.comJohn Steinbeck on how literature has the power to change things. (Photo: Wikimedia Commons)

“Literature was not promulgated by a pale and emasculated critical priesthood singing their litanies in empty churches. Literature is as old as speech. It grew out of human need for it, and it has not changed except to become more needed,” said American author and the 1962 Nobel Prize in Literature winner John Steinbeck as part of his Banquet Speech at the City Hall in Stockholm, December 10, 1962.

Further elaborating that it was the heart that was in conflict with itself and this was the only conflict worth writing about, Steinbeck went on to remember his great predecessor William Faulkner who had spoken on the same platform. He said “Faulker, more than other men, was aware of human strength as well as human weakness”.

In conclusion, he said, “Having taken god-like power, we must seek in ourselves, the responsibility and wisdom which we once prayed, some day we might have. Man himself has become our greatest help and our only hope.”

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