[Ads-l] Question about a quotation employed by Toni Morrison

Stephen Goranson goranson at DUKE.EDU
Sun Feb 5 13:18:08 UTC 2023

I do not have the requested identity, maybe, maybe because this is a story that does not require such?
This may be a quote within a quote by "some young people"--plural, yet speaking with one voice?
Did Morrison sneak in a technically inaccurate allusion to non-Nobel winner Tolstoy?

From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of ADSGarson O'Toole <adsgarsonotoole at GMAIL.COM>
Sent: Sunday, February 5, 2023 4:07 AM
Subject: Question about a quotation employed by Toni Morrison

Nobel laureate Toni Morrison credited a quotation to an unnamed poet
in her Nobel Lecture. A doctoral student sent me a request to identify
the unnamed poet, but I have not made any progress. Perhaps someone on
this mailing list would be willing to explore this topic. Below is the
excerpt containing the quotation:

Website: nobelprize.org
Article: Nobel Lecture
Lecture date: December 7, 1993
Author: Toni Morrison


[Begin excerpt]
We have heard all our short lives that we have to be responsible. What
could that possibly mean in the catastrophe this world has become;
where, as a poet said, "nothing needs to be exposed since it is
already barefaced." Our inheritance is an affront. You want us to have
your old, blank eyes and see only cruelty and mediocrity.
[End excerpt]

Garson O’Toole

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