The giant is there, nevertheless

on July 20, 2010 with 0 comments »

Found this lovely excerpt in a lecture given by Helen Vendler titled, "The Ocean, the Bird, and the Scholar" - the Jefferson Lecture, 2004. (The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities, established by the National Endowment for the Humanities in 1972, is the highest honor the federal government confers for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.)
I thought, on the train, how utterly we have forsaken the Earth, in the sense of excluding it from our thoughts. There are but few who consider its physical hugeness, its rough enormity. It is still a disparate monstrosity, full of solitudes & barrens & wilds. It still dwarfs & terrifies & crushes. The rivers still roar, the mountains still crash, the winds still shatter. Man is an affair of cities. His gardens & orchards & fields are mere scrapings. Somehow, however, he has managed to shut out the face of the giant from his windows. But the giant is there, nevertheless. - Wallace Stevens (Souvenirs and Prophecies, ed. Holly Stevens (New York: Knopf, 1977), note of April 18, 1904, p. 134)

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