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Still Another Device

There’s not too fine a distinction between humor and tragedy; even tragedy is in a way walking a tightrope between the ridiculous, between the bizarre and the terrible. Possibly the writer uses humor as a tool; he’s still trying to write about people, to write about man, about the human heart in some moving way, and so he uses whatever tool that he thinks will do most to finish the picture which at the moment he is trying to paint, of man. He will use humor, tragedy, just as he uses violence.

—William Faulkner, from his lectures at the University of Virginia

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