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Larry D. Carver, Director CLA 2.104, Mailcode G6210, Austin, TX 78712 • 512-471-3458

The Pinto Carver Essay Contest

The Pinto Carver Essay Contest - 2013-2014

Style, in its finest sense, is the last acquirement of the educated mind; it is also the most useful. It pervades the whole being. The administrator with a sense of style hates waste; the engineer with a sense for style economizes his material; the artisan with a sense for style prefers good work. Style is the ultimate morality of mind. -Alfred North Whitehead

The Topic:

In Marcel Proust’s Swann’s Way the narrator is describing his neighbor’s difficulties with his daughter:  “But a man like M. Vinteuil must have suffered much more than most in resigning himself to one of those situations which are wrongly believed to be the exclusive prerogative of the bohemia life:  they occur whenever a vice which nature itself plants in a child….”  We are never told the “vice,” but the narrator goes on to observe:  “But the fact that M. Vinteuil perhaps knew about his daughter’s behavior does not imply that his worship of her would thereby be diminished.  Facts do not find their way into the world in which our beliefs reside; they did not produce our beliefs, they do not destroy them; they may inflict on them the most constant refutations without weakening them, and an avalanche of afflictions or ailments succeeding one another without interruption in a family will not make it doubt the goodness of its God or the talent of its doctor” (p. 151, translated by Lydia Davis). 

Write an essay in which you agree or disagree with the narrator’s (who may call Proust) assertion about fact and belief.  Needless to say, the more well developed your thoughts, the more specific your language, the better. 

Eligibility:  Current Liberal Arts Honors Freshmen and Sophomores

Specifications: 750-1000 words, titled, double-spaced, and typed, with your name in the upper-right hand corner. No cover page.


1st Prize: $1500

2nd Prize: $500

3rd Prize: $250

Submission Deadline:  Friday, January 17, 2014 5:00 p.m. in the Liberal Arts Honors Office.  The judges reserve the right to withhold awards in the absence of prize worthy essays.

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