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National Book Awards Acceptance Speeches
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Bernard Devoto

Winner of the 1953 NONFICTION AWARD for THE COURSE OF EMPIRE

A writer is not called on to achieve triumphs but to do as well as he can with what he has and what he is. He is asked to withhold nothing of himself from the job undertaken. He is asked to write so that a reader will be caught up into engagement with the subject that is larger than the book, to write so that the book will lead a reader farther in understanding than he could go by himself, and farther than the book goes. If a book does that, then it has achieved, I repeat, an honorable compromise with the failure that is our common lot.

 


 



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