A Modest Man

Photo by Jan Saudek: Jane’s Departure (1976)

Dear Malcolm,

I saw the Life [magazine] with your Hemingway piece. I didn’t read it, but I know it’s all right or you wouldn’t have put your name on it; for which reason I know Hemingway thinks it’s all right, and I hope it will profit him—if there is any profit or increase or increment that a brave man and an artist can lack or need or want.

But I am more convinced and determined than ever that this is not for me. I will protest to the last: no photographs, no recorded documents. It is my ambition to be, as a private individual, abolished and voided from history, leaving it markless, no refuse save the printed books; I wish I had had enough sense to see ahead thirty years ago and, like some of the Elizabethans, not signed them. It is my aim, and every effort bent, that the sum and history of my life, which in the same sentence is my obit and epitaph too, shall be them both: he made the books, and he died.

William Faulkner
Letter to Malcolm Cowley, 1949

Photo by Jan Saudek: Jane’s Departure (1976)


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