a day of reading, from the paris review interviews

For epilogue here, let’s append a passage from the Baroness Blixen’s “Albondocani,” a long series of connected tales still unfinished at the time of her death in 1962. This excerpt is from “The Blank Page,” published in Last Tales (1957). An old woman who earns her living by storytelling is speaking:

“With my grandmother,” she said, “I went through a hard school. ‘Be loyal to the story,’ the old hag would say to me, ‘be eternally and unswervingly loyal to the story.’ ‘Why must I be that, Grandmother?’ I asked her. ‘Am I to furnish you with reasons, baggage?’ she cried. ‘And you mean to be a storyteller! Why, you are to become a storyteller, and I shall give you the reasons! Hear then: Where the storyteller is loyal, eternally and unswervingly loyal to the story, there, in the end, silence will speak. Where the story has been betrayed, silence is but emptiness. But we, the faithful, when we have spoken our last word, will hear the voice of silence. Whether a small snotty lass [or anyone else] understands it or not.’

“Who, then,” she continues, “tells a finer tale than any of us? Silence does.”

Isak Dinesen, interviewed by Eugene Walter, Issue 14, 1956

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