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Hove, Arthur (ed.) / Wisconsin alumnus
Volume 66, Number 2 (Nov. 1964)

Kubly, Herbert
Discovering America,   pp. 12-14


Page 12


Discovering America
                                 by Herbert Kubly
   this Wisconsin writer
had to travel throughout
   the world to uncover
   certain truths about
         his own country
12
tj HATE to travel!" I said grimly one day in New
  !! Hampshire while loading boxes into a station
wagon for the autumnal return to New York.
  My companion looked at me in amazement. "What
did you just say?" she asked.
  "I hate to travel. I'd like to be an old tree or a stone,
rooted in one place forever." I was thinking how,
through a curious chain of circumstances, I had become
known as a "travel writer." In one respect, at least, I
was like) D. H. Lawrence who seemed to find the lo-
gistics of movement almost unendurable, yet was al-
ways on the move. Why did he continue to punish him-
self? Why do I?
  Carlo Levi, writing in The Linden Trees of a jour-
ney to Germany, speaks of travel as "a ffight, an un-
conscious quest, an abandonment, a longing to escape
to adolescence, a desire to leave the real war of life to
those who stay behind." "We know where we are go-
ing," Levi writes. "But do we know why we leave
what remains behind and does not follow us?"
  What Levi is saying is that travel is another elaborate
escape hatch, and he is right. Wandering in foreign
countries I seek and find a sort of freedom, or at least
an illusion of freedom. In Italy I found human
warmth for which I seem in my whole life to have
yearned, a dolce far niente permissiveness which freed
me from the guilt of indolence, freed me for enjoyment,
for fulfillment instead of denial. In Switzerland I found
roots, tradition, a sense of belonging to history; perhaps
my own American past had been too spurious, the
presence of my people too brief. In both Switzerland
Herbert Kubly '37, a native of New Glarus, Wisconsin,
is the author of American in Italy which won the Na-
tional Book Award. His other books include Easter in
Sicily, Varieties of Love, and the recent novel, The
Whistling Zone. This article is taken from Mr. Kubly's
most recent book, At Large, which includes remem-
brances of his home town, Madison, and the University.
Permission to quote from At Large has been granted
by its publisher, Doubleday & Company, Inc., New
York.
                               Wisconsin Alumnus


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