Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eloquence also returns: Obama and Language

Among other triumphs, last Tuesday night was a very good night for the English language. A movement in American politics hostile to the possession and the possibility of words—it had repeatedly disparaged Barack Obama as “just a person of words” —was not only defeated but embarrassed by a victory speech eloquent in echo, allusion, and counterpoint. No doubt many of us would have watched in tears if President-elect Obama had only thanked his campaign staff and shuffled off to bed; but his midnight address was written in a language with roots, and stirred in his audience a correspondingly deep emotion.

James Wood in the New Yorker.

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