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About Wendell Berry
Wendell E. Berry (born August 5, 1934) is an American novelist, poet, environmental activist, cultural critic, and farmer. A prolific author, he has written many novels, short stories, poems, and essays. He is an elected member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers, a recipient of The National Humanities Medal, and the Jefferson Lecturer for 2012. He is also a 2013 Fellow of The American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Berry was named the recipient of the 2013 Richard C. Holbrooke Distinguished Achievement Award. On January 28, 2015, he became the first living writer to be ushered into the Kentucky Writers Hall of Fame.
Bio from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Photo by Guy Mendes (Guy Mendes) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
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Titles By Wendell Berry
Orphaned at age ten, Jayber Crow’s acquaintance with loneliness and want have made him a patient observer of the human animal, in both its goodness and frailty.
He began his search as a “pre–ministerial student” at Pigeonville College. There, freedom met with new burdens and a young man needed more than a mirror to find himself. But the beginning of that finding was a short conversation with “Old Grit,” his profound professor of New Testament Greek.
“You have been given questions to which you cannot be given answers. You will have to live them out—perhaps a little at a time.”
“And how long is that going to take?”
“I don't know. As long as you live, perhaps.”
“That could be a long time.”
“I will tell you a further mystery,” he said. “It may take longer.”
Wendell Berry’s clear–sighted depiction of humanity’s gifts—love and loss, joy and despair—is seen though his intimate knowledge of the Port William Membership.
Wendell Berry has never been afraid to speak up for the dispossessed. The Need to Be Whole continues the work he began in The Hidden Wound (1970) and The Unsettling of America (1977), demanding a careful exploration of this hard, shared truth: The wealth of the mighty few governing this nation has been built on the unpaid labor of others.
Without historical understanding of this practice of dispossession—the displacement of Native peoples, the destruction of both the land and land-based communities, ongoing racial division—we are doomed to continue industrialism’s assault on both the natural world and every sacred American ideal. Berry writes, “To deal with so great a problem, the best idea may not be to go ahead in our present state of unhealth to more disease and more product development. It may be that our proper first resort should be to history: to see if the truth we need to pursue might be behind us where we have ceased to look.” If there is hope for us, this is it: that we honestly face our past and move into a future guided by the natural laws of affection. This book furthers Mr. Berry’s part in what is surely our country’s most vital conversation.
For those readers of his poetry and inspired by his increasingly vital work as advocate for rational land use and the right-size life, these stories of Wendell Berry's offer entry into the fictional place of value and beauty that is Port William, Kentucky. Berry has said it's taken a lifetime for him to learn to write like an old man, and that's what we have here, stories told with grace and ease and majesty. Wendell Berry is one of our greatest living American authors, writing with the wisdom of maturity and the incandescence that comes of love.
These thirteen new works explore the memory and imagination of Andy Catlett, one of the well-loved central characters of the Port William saga. From 1932 to 2021, these stories span the length of Andy’s life, from before the outbreak of the Second World War to the threatened end of rural life in America.
. In six elegant, linked literary essays, Berry considers the degeneration of language that is manifest throughout our culture, from poetry to politics, from conversation to advertising, and he shows how the ever–widening cleft between the words and their referents mirrors the increasing isolation of individuals and their communities from the land.
“This skillfully conceived book is one of the strongest contemporary arguments for literary tradition: a challenging credo, un–glib, calmly assured, clearly illuminating—and required reading for those seriously interested in the interplay between literature, ethics, and morality.” —Kirkus Reviews
“[Berry’s] poems, novels and essays . . . are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America’s agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal.” —Publishers Weekly
When young Nathan loses his grandfather, Berry guides readers through the process of Nathan's grief, endearing the reader to the simple humanity through which Nathan views the world. Echoing Berry's own strongly held beliefs, Nathan tells us that his grandfather's life “couldn't be divided from the days he'd spent at work in his fields.” Berry has long been compared to Faulkner for his ability to erect entire communities in his fiction, and his heart and soul have always lived in Port William, Kentucky. In this eloquent novel about duty, community, and a sweeping love of the land, Berry gives readers a classic book that takes them to that storied place.
Acclaimed as “one of the most humane, honest, liberating works of our time” (The Village Voice), The Hidden Wound is a book-length essay about racism and the damage it has done to the identity of our country. Through Berry’s personal experience, he explains how remaining passive in the face of the struggle of racism further corrodes America’s great potential. In a quiet and observant manner, Berry opens up about how his attempt to discuss racism is rooted in the hope that someday the historical wound will begin to heal. Pulitzer prize-winning author Larry McMurtry calls this “a profound, passionate, crucial piece of writing . . . Few readers, and I think, no writers will be able to read it without a small pulse of triumph at the temples: the strange, almost communal sense of triumph one feels when someone has written truly well . . . The statement it makes is intricate and beautiful, sad but strong.”
“Mr. Berry is a sophisticated, philosophical poet in the line descending from Emerson and Thoreau." ―The Baltimore Sun
"[Berry’s poems] shine with the gentle wisdom of a craftsman who has thought deeply about the paradoxical strangeness and wonder of life." ―The Christian Science Monitor
"Wendell Berry is one of those rare individuals who speaks to us always of responsibility, of the individual cultivation of an active and aware participation in the arts of life." ―The Bloomsbury Review
“[Berry’s] poems, novels and essays . . . are probably the most sustained contemporary articulation of America’s agrarian, Jeffersonian ideal.” ―Publishers Weekly
Sadly, his arguments and observations are more relevant than ever. Although “this book has not had the happy fate of being proved wrong,” Berry writes, there are people working “to make something comely and enduring of our life on this earth.” Wendell Berry is one of those people, writing and working, as ever, with passion, eloquence, and conviction.
In a time when our relationship to the natural world is ruled by the violence and greed of unbridled consumerism, Wendell Berry speaks out in these prescient essays, drawn from his fifty-year campaign on behalf of American lands and communities.
The writings gathered in The World-Ending Fire are the unique product of a life spent farming the fields of rural Kentucky with mules and horses, and of the rich, intimate knowledge of the land cultivated by this work. These are essays written in defiance of the false call to progress and in defense of local landscapes, essays that celebrate our cultural heritage, our history, and our home.
With grace and conviction, Wendell Berry shows that we simply cannot afford to succumb to the mass-produced madness that drives our global economy―the natural world will not allow it.
Yet he also shares with us a vision of consolation and of hope. We may be locked in an uneven struggle, but we can and must begin to treat our land, our neighbors, and ourselves with respect and care. As Berry urges, we must abandon arrogance and stand in awe.
The story tells of the most searing moments of Old Jack’s life, particularly his debt to his sister Nancy and her husband Ben Feltner, Old Jack’s model of what an honorable manhood and strength might be.
"Few novelists treat both their characters and their readers with the kind of respect that Wendell Berry displays in this deeply moving account . . . The Memory of Old Jack is a slab of rich Americana."—The New York Times Book Review
"The earth is the genius of our life,” Wendell Berry writes here. “The final questions and their answers lie serenely coupled in it."