Sunday, 25 October 2009


Faulkner, in Requiem for a Nun, famously said: 'the past is never dead; it is not even past.' Well, I say famously. It's famously misquoted -- from Obama to Peter Carey it comes out the memory mill as 'the past is not dead; it is not even past.' I wonder why we silently correct it like that? The effect, I suppose, is to turn the sentiment from a general statement that applies to all pasts ('...never...') into a specific statemtent about the vividness with which our past lives in us ('...not...'). But that's not what Faulkner actually said.

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