Ishall only speak for five minutes, since I am not sufficiently clever or educated to do so for longer. This is not just modesty though it may seem like that. I should add perhaps that several times during this conference it has occurred to me that if a time-limit had been imposed on certain of the speeches, we should have had greater results.
I am not a critic, so I can’t speak about other people’s books. I can only tell you, briefly, what it is that makes me write.
I have not had any of the terrible personal experiences which other writers have described to us, but I have observed the world—I started to write late—and I have reached certain conclusions. I have always been struck by the things which men do to other men. I know of deeds which took place during the war, about which I still cannot think without feeling physically ill.
I am becoming ever more convinced that humanity—the people we are, those we meet—is suffering from a terrible disease. I want to examine this disease, because only by knowing it, is there any hope of being able to control it. And when I look around me, to find examples of this sickness, I seek it in the place where it is most easily accessible to me, I mean in myself.
In my opinion, therefore, the novelist does not limit himself to reporting