Ask yourself why you love literature, he said to the students in the room. Ask yourself why you’re devoted, what’s brought you here, to this room.
He paced. The room was silent.
I love literature more than any other form of art because it is most often the tale of the Everyman, he said. It is language, yes. It is storytelling in its purest form, yes. I love it for these things. But most of all I love it because of the Everyman.
What do you mean by Everyman, a woman asked.
The Everyman, said the man in front of the room, is you. It is me. It is the man or woman who lives in extraordinary times. Just like us. The Everyman is the character in the work, moving through it, making decisions, performing routine tasks, assigning obligations to him or herself. But the Everyman is also the composer of the work. Man must have firsthand knowledge of the Everyman in order to narrate him. The Everyman is also the translator of the work. Man must speak the language of the Everyman in order to translate him. The Everyman is also the great liberator of the work. Man must have a notion of the Everyman’s captivity in order to free him.
The room was silent. The students watched the man pace slowly in front of them, back and forth.