Literary heritage is worth saving

Published 12:00 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Regarding Ole Miss’ plans to demolish the outbuilding where William Faulkner wrote “As I Lay Dying”:

It is sad that great literature counts for so little in the Age of the Selfie.   Literature majors are being replaced by American Studies majors where the evolution of Mickey Mouse and the importance of Cola Wars trump the reading Joyce, Dostoevsky, Proust.

Some still celebrate literature.    People go to the grave of Kafka, the estate of Tolstoy, and celebrate Bloomsday in Dublin, Ireland. One of my best days was attending a “little” Bloomsday held in Dublin, New Hampshire. Splendid stuff this.

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Even in the United States, there remains interest in literary tourism. Cannery Row in Monterey, California, draws crowds wanting to experience what John Steinbeck felt when he wrote the novel. The House of Seven Gables stands in Salem, Massachusetts, a tribute to Nathaniel Hawthorne. The asylum where Ken Kesey placed “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” is a proper museum.

So why not Faulkner in Oxford?   Why raze the power plant where Faulkner used a wheelbarrow as a desk? Why not inspire future writers, playwrights and new media artists by allowing them in the place where Faulkner toiled?

Others have fought the bleakness that informs our age. Singer/songwriter Don Henley raised the banner to defend Walden Pond from a grotesque development scheme in Concord, Massachusetts. Where is the standard bearer in Mississippi?

Steven W. Lindsey

Keene, New Hampshire