Three Questions for Wendell Berry
Wendell Berry to receive Sidney Lanier Prize

A 2008 letter from Wendell Berry

After returning home (following a "craftsmanship" tour of the Jack Daniels whiskey distillery), the students organized fifteen key questions that seemed the most important to them from all of our readings. I mailed them to Mr. Berry and he kindly responded with the letter posted to the right, along with typewritten responses to each question. I'm providing them for you here:

1. How much, if any, of Andy Catlett did you base upon your own life?
Andy Catlett 
is derived fairly directly from things I learned and that I remember from this part of the country at the time of my childhood. At the same time, it is very much a work of fiction. It had to be an imagined work simply because my memories are not complete enough to give me a whole story. And so Andy's bus ride, for example, is entirely imaginary. So are several of the characters and a good many of the events.

2. Where did industry go wrong, and why?
One of the large errors of industrialism is that it treats the ecological support system as "free." That is, it does not deduct ecological costs. To that I would add the tendency of industrialists to work on a scale so large that damages to ecosystems and human communities are inevitable.

Read more of this letter at Eighth Day Institute


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