Thursday, October 29, 2020

"Two versions of the first person": Vernon Klinkenborg on Wendell Berry

In his review of "What I Stand On", the Library of America's two-volume collection of essays by Wendell Berry, Vernon Klinkenborg contrasts "two versions of the first person [...] in Berry's nonfiction". The first speaks of Berry and his physical position in the world: “I am writing this in the north-central part of Kentucky on a morning near the end of June.” For Klinkenborg, such sentences "breathe with the life of the body." The second is "the logical first person" that talks about what's going on in the writing with phrases like "as I have been trying to show". As Klinkenborg argues, there's no body – and nobody – in this "logical" construction. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 29 October)


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