Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Literature opens the door

Let us give thanks to librarians. When I was young and knuckleheaded, fighting against being poor, against being brown, against being an immigrant, against being rejected by my father, it was a librarian assigned to a tiny precinct in Central New Jersey who took the time out of her work and with care and arid enthusiasm introduced me to the wonder of books and in the process, I would argue, saved my life.


Literature is in my estimation best understood as a record of our human selves: of our frailties, of our follies, of our errors, of our limitations, of our fears, of our delusions, of our evasions and of our vulnerabilities. Literature when done right moves us beyond our myths of mastery and invulnerability and reminds us with inescapable force that all we are and all we shall ever be is human. Literature, in other words, bears witness to what it is to be human. Bearing witness to our humanity not only punctures myths and acts as an antidote to those who would dehumanise us through war, deception, the logic of capital and the daily quotidian practice of cruelty and indifference, it also helps to make us more human. And it is in this human-making that literature, like all art, excels.

Are from Literature opens the door to compassion in our brief lives by Junot Diaz, in the Sydney Morning Herald 26 May 2008

Link to article

Tinyurl for this article

I learned about this via the excellent nswtl list.

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