Wendell E. Berry Delivers 2012 Jefferson Lecture

Wendell E. Berry, noted poet, essayist, novelist, farmer, and conservationist, recently delivered the 2012 Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The annual lecture, sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is the most prestigious honor the federal government bestows for distinguished intellectual achievement in the humanities.

NEH is currently inviting nominations for the 2013 Jefferson Lecture. More information about the lectureship, including a list of previous lecturers and instructions for submitting your nomination, is available at: https://www.neh.gov/about/awards/jefferson-lecture-nominations.The deadline for nominations is Friday, May 25, 2012.

In his lecture, entitled “It All Turns on Affection,” Berry lamented the increasing divergence of modern man from the environment and local communities. Invoking the words of his mentor, the writer Wallace Stegner, Berry observed that throughout history Americans have been divided into two kinds: the “boomers” who “pillage and run,” and the “stickers” who “settle, and love the life they have made and the place they have made it in.”

The full text of Wendell Berry’s lecture is available here. This year, for the first time, NEH live streamed the Jefferson Lecture for those unable to attend. Watch the archived video of the lecture here.

The Jefferson Lecture in the Humanities recognizes an individual who has made significant scholarly contributions to the humanities and who has the ability to communicate the knowledge and wisdom of the humanities in a broadly appealing way. Wendell Berry will deliver the 41st Jefferson Lecture. Past Jefferson Lecturers include Drew Gilpin Faust, Jonathan Spence, John Updike, Tom Wolfe, David McCullough, Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Arthur Miller, Bernard Bailyn, Toni Morrison, Vincent Scully, Gwendolyn Brooks, Saul Bellow, John Hope Franklin, Robert Penn Warren, and Lionel Trilling. A complete list of past Jefferson Lecturers is available here.