The Stone City

Words Made to Last

Saturday, April 04, 2009

Strong Language

I am not the first to notice this passage from Light in August, but it merits reproduction.
One wall of the study is lined with books. He pauses before them, seeking, until he finds the one he wants. It is Tennyson. It is dogeared. He has had it ever since the seminary. He sits beneath the lamp and opens it. It does not take long. Soon the fine galloping language, the gutless swooning full of sapless trees and dehydrated lusts begins to swim smooth and swift and peaceful. It is better than praying without having to bother to think aloud. It is like listening in a cathedral to a eunuch chanting in a language which he does not even need to not understand.

Also interesting is Mr. Faulkner's non-denying denial when asked whether this represents his own feelings about Mr. Tennyson's work.