Monday, November 30, 2020

The writer and the man …

Wendell Berry's High Horse. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)
…  rereading Berry, I realized that most of his essays aren’t really essays. They’re disquisitions, extended arguments. I don’t often get around to agreeing or disagreeing with their author, because I’m too busy arguing with his prose. Berry derives his strength as a writer from contact with the earth, the more immediate, the better. All his life, he’s been a vigilant man of conscience. He’s capable of moving and inspiring readers, capable too, at times, of getting to the heart of a cultural or social problem. But he can also make you feel like you’re warming yourself at a bonfire of straw men and women. All too often I’m disturbed, to the point of physical unease, by the involuted, strangely patristic way his writing and thinking move, the grandeur of his modesty.
 He seems, to borrow a phrase from George Bernard Shaw, “too full of the validity of his remoter generalizations.”

1 comment:

  1. Is there supposed to be a link to a longer essay?