Wednesday, January 11, 2006

On this day in literature . . .

1928 ~ Thomas Hardy, author of The Return of the Native (see earlier post), dies in his home in Dorchester at 87. His ashes are deposited next to those of Charles Dickens in Westminster Abbey. His heart is buried in Dorset.

1908 ~ Alan Paton (Cry, the Beloved Country) is born in South Africa.

I read Cry, the Beloved Country for the first time this past fall. I found it to be very moving, and, like other books such as Huckleberry Finn, an effective social critique primarily because it is essentially a well-told story about one person (rather than a social critique masquerading as a novel). Paton was highly influenced by the style and rhythms of the King James Version of the Bible, and, indeed, the novel has echoes of biblical narrative, psalms, and prophecy.

Cry, the beloved country, for the unborn child that is the inheritor of our fear. Let him not love the earth too deeply. Let him not laugh too gladly when the water runs through his fingers, nor stand too silent when the setting sun makes red the veld with fire. Let him not be moved when the birds of his land are singing, nor give too much of his heart to a mountain or valley. For fear will rob him of all if he gives too much.


Anonymous Katherine said...

I read this book with Dr. Kraus in Modern World Lit. It is a beautiful book and is a wonderful picture of forgiveness and redemption.

9:47 AM  

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