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In , he withdrew his personal papers from the University of Kentucky -- where he earned his B.

Affection and Pastoral Ministry

Berry is 77 years old, white of hair and measured of speech, as well as warm, friendly, and unfailingly polite. In an interview with Inside Higher Ed last week, he was generous with his time and advice, laughed often, and in every way embodied old-fashioned charm. Forster's novel Howards End — belies the strength of his words and the force of his message. The vehemence and emotion of Berry's argument were particularly striking in comparison with the speeches given by previous Jefferson lecturers.

He expected, he said, that many people would disagree with the thrust of his argument — or would simply discount it without feeling the need to articulate any rebuttal. However we may feel about this system, Berry noted in his speech, we all participate in it, and in so doing, give tacit consent.

We are all responsible for its outcomes. What could affection possibly have to do with industrial agriculture? We cannot and will not begin to take appropriate care of the planet and its resources because the government mandates that we do so, or even because our moral or religious beliefs would seem to require it. He grew up on a small farm in rural Kentucky, and he has lived in Kentucky for most of his adult life.

But Berry took care to make the case that his stance is less behind the times than timely. And, several days before the lecture, Berry seemed almost bemused by the idea of trying to make a lasting impact on an audience composed at least partly of Washington elites. Whatever they may have gotten from the evening, his audience seemed more than satisfied.

The concluding applause was long and loud, punctuated by shouts and whistles, and accompanied by a standing ovation that made up nearly every person in the very packed house.

At a reception following the lecture, Berry was mobbed by fans and well-wishers -- most of them youthful, and many clutching their own copies of his books -- who waited and waited for their chance to get his autograph or simply shake his hand. The young man said that he had read all of Berry's work, and added that he especially admires Berry because "he's actually done what he's writing about.

Reporter's note: The speech Berry delivered Monday night was, for practical reasons, a shorter version of the full essay that he had written for the occasion. This article quotes only from those spoken remarks. Be the first to know.


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Sorry, we could not verify that email address. Enter your email below, and we'll send you another email. Thank you for verifiying your email address. We didn't recognize that password reset code. At a reception following the lecture, Berry was mobbed by fans and well-wishers -- most of them youthful, and many clutching their own copies of his books -- who waited and waited for their chance to get his autograph or simply shake his hand. The young man said that he had read all of Berry's work, and added that he especially admires Berry because "he's actually done what he's writing about.

Reporter's note: The speech Berry delivered Monday night was, for practical reasons, a shorter version of the full essay that he had written for the occasion.

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Wendell Berry

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