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I believe that man will not merely endure, he will prevail: William Faulkner

"He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul," he said of mankind

By: Lifestyle Desk | New Delhi | Updated: December 8, 2020 12:04:55 pm
He won the Nobel in 1949. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

Accepting the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949, author William Faulkner spoke on virtues and vices, learnings and unlearning. “Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only the question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat.”

He continued saying, “He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honour and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labours under a curse…Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man.”

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He concluded with hope. “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.”

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