Professor Hungerford, Yale University: “You may have noticed…that I am very fond of reading aloud to you from these novels. I’m very fond of reading out passages. I do it a lot. Why DO I do it? Well, there are two reasons. One, because I want you to hear literary art. Literary art is a VERBAL art. And I think too often we ONLY read it silently. Probably not since you were children has someone read to you so much. So, to get a sense of that you have to have it in your ear, and feel the sound and the rhythm, and the quality, the tembre, the expression of the voice that we have in these novels.

Our writer for today thinks so highly of that capacity of literature to embody the human voice that he imagines a whole religious world around it. That’s gonna be the gist of my argument today.

But then there’s a second, sort of less mystical reason… and that’s that these ARE the facts of a literary argument. These words that I give to you. It’s like, if you’re in an astronomy lecture…they’re gonna give you some facts about the composition of a planet or its atmosphere or whatever. Those are the facts for that field. For THIS field, these are the facts.”

Hungerford lecture:

An example of literary art for the ear: