The language of literature is not neutral jargon

The language of communication may be the language of radio and television; but the language which the artist seeks sensitively to supervise is the language not of communication but of communion: it is that language into which an effort has been made to put a deep and authentic knowledge of what is involved in the life together of free men, and it is, therefore, a language which invites us to reenter what Martin Buber calls “the world of I and Thou.”

This is, of course, to say that the language of imaginative literature is not the ethically and spiritually neutral jargon of any science: it is, rather, a language which, if it is to do its proper work, needs to be heavily weighted with the beliefs, sentiments, and valuations that are the deep source in a ¬†culture of its “hum and buzz of implication” and that bind its people together with ties that separate them from the people of other cultures. Only when the artist’s language bears this kind of freight can it be something more than a vehicle of communication. Only then can it become an instrument of communion and–what all art is ultimately intended to be–a servant of love.

-Nathan A. Scott, Jr.’s¬†The Broken Center: Studies in the Theological Horizon of Modern Literature, pp. 3-4

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