Read, Read, Read: A Faulkner Character Reads Tennyson

10Jan13

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“Yes,” he thinks. “I should never have let myself get out of the habit of prayer.” He turns from the window. One wall of the study is lined with books. He pauses before them, seeking, until he finds the one which 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 understand.

William Faulkner, Light In August

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