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Comment on Wendell Berry's characters

Wendell Berry is a writer whose writing is almost entirely what he knows. Most, if not all of his fiction is set in a fictional town based on the area where he grew up and still lives. His characters aren’t particularly brilliant, though each has their moment of brilliance or realization, but they’re real people feeling the things real people feel. What they do isn’t exotic in the general scheme  of things, though it probably seems so to people who have never farmed or lived in a farming community, something that fewer and fewer people experience now. His characters are ordinary people in an environment no longer ordinary, but related to the world in a realistic way.

via allenstarbuck


Wendell Berry cited on Marriage and Sexual Ethics

This broader capitalist rape culture benefits greatly from both the fantasy that sexual urges are completely uncontrollable except in the cases where someone says “no” and the vestiges of pseudo-Christian morality that assigns as much blame as possible to the victims of sexual aggression. Ross Douthat has observed that a libertarian vision of a perfectly transparent free market is as unrealistic as an libertine vision of perfectly free decision-making. Sex and the representation of hypersexualized bodies becomes a chaotic mess of people using sex for whatever power it gives them over others. Wendell Berry takes this apart quite skillfully in his essay Sex, Economy, Freedom, & Community:

"If you depreciate the sanctity and solemnity of marriage, not just as a bond between two people but as a bond between those two people and their forebears, their children, and their neighbors, then you have prepared the way for an epidemic of divorce, child neglect, community ruin, and loneliness. If you destroy the economies of household and community, then you destroy the bonds of mutual usefulness and practical dependence without which the other bonds will not hold."

via Mere Orthodoxy


Blog Watch: Appreciating Wendell Berry

Berry does everything really well, but I like especially the coherence to the "Port William membership". Probably the connectedness of all his short stories makes for a very long novel, in a way. And who would actually need a novel with this being his genre? It's been done by others and continues to be a genre I love. He created an environment, an imaginary place and some generations of folks that people that place. The short stories, as did Remembering, tell about these people's lives in Port William. Faulkner did it, wrote one book after another about a clan and the swampy land they inhabited. Jim Harrison's work does this too. And Wendell Berry's world is incredibly complete too with characters interrelating, generations following each other and older generations remembering all that has happened in other stories. I think within this genre, or context, he is expressing his profound belief in the belonging and connection we all have in the family of mankind.

via Snippets ...


Wendell Berry cited in essay on Capitalism

A more extensive critic of U. S. farm practices is Kentucky farmer and writer Wendell Berry, who greatly admires both Day and Schumacher. Indeed, he gave the first Annual E.F. Schumacher lecture in 1981. Like Day and Schumacher, he has been not only influenced by the Distributists, but is a strong critic of capitalist economics. For almost a half century Berry’s criticisms, whether in his fiction, non-fiction, or poetry, have been relentless.

In his 2012 Jefferson Lecture, he identified “our present industrial system” with “pillage and indifference,” and “permanent ecological and cultural damage.” He went on to say:

“The two great aims of industrialism — replacement of people by technology and concentration of wealth into the hands of a small plutocracy — seem close to fulfillment. . . . Corporate industrialism itself has exposed the falsehood that it . . . ever has given precedence to the common good."

via The Noah Project Blog