Harry Ransom CenterThe University of Texas at Austin

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Summer 2002 Newsletter

Excerpt from Russell Banks

Photograph

George "AE" Russell, Seascape, no date. Oil on
canvas. Ransom Center Art Collection.

The universe moves, and everything in it moves, and by transferring its parts, it and everything in it down to the smallest cell are transformed and continue. Water, earth, fire and air. To continue, just to go on, with entropy lurking out there, takes an old-fashioned, Bibilical kind of heroism. That the seas move, that the waters flow from gulfs across whole oceans along continents and back again, is marvelous. That the continents themselves move, that they separate from one another, regroup and gather themselves into mountain ranges, plateaus, vast savannas and grassy veldts, is a wonder. That far beneath the deepest seas the grinding of the plates that carry those continents generates sufficient heat to melt rock and erupt in fiery volcanoes, making high, conical islands appear in the North Atlantic and South Pacific where, before, dark waters for millennia rolled uninterruptedly, this is truly worthy of admiration. And what is marvelous to us, what fills us with wonder and admiration, we must emulate, or we die.

Continental Drift, p. 39, Harper & Row, New York, 1985.


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