When science fiction writer Bruce McAllister was 16, in 1963, he decided that his English teacher's insistence on seeking out symbolism in literature was a tedious exercise. McAllister, who had just sold his first story, was skeptical of the whole idea of symbolism in literature, so he typed out an ungrammatical, mimeographed questionnaire about symbolism in literature and mailed it to 150 authors. 75 replied. Some were secretarial responses on the lines of "Go away, I'm busy," but substantive responses came in from Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury, Ayn Rand, Jack Kerouac, Judith Merril, John Updike, Fritz Leiber, and others.
Some were dismissive of Bruce’s project, or his methodology. MacKinlay Kantor chided, “Nonsense, young man, write your own research paper. Don’t expect others to do the work for you.” Others, like William Melvin Kelley, cite the work and characters of other authors rather than their own. Kelley names Faulkner, Robbins, Hemingway, Twain, and Salinger: “Holden Caulfield is a person, but enough of us felt that we were like him to make him a symbol. But if he’d been a symbol, Salinger would have been an unknown writer living in Vermont.” Henry Roth mentions Dante, Blake, Joyce, and perhaps Malamud as writers who intentionally incorporate symbolism (Updike names Joyce and Dante as well, along with Homer). Roth notes that the Greeks, Elizabethans, and Cervantes were “interested in a type of what existed rather than symbols of abstract ideas, forces, beliefs.” For himself? “My own feeling at the time I wrote CIS [Call It Sleep] was that the symbol was well-surrendered or abandoned for the greater verity or the more striking insight.”
Document: The Symbolism Survey
Before the internet, even before desktop publishing, gang members who wanted calling cards headed to a printer with their idea. The results are collected in Brandon Johnson’s Thee Almighty & Insane: Chicago Gang Business Cards from the 1970s & 1980s.
The long-awaited documentary Graphic Means just premiered at the ByDesign film festival, describing a half-century of world-changing analog-to-digital shifts in how graphic designers worked. Here’s the trailer.
The artist behind the Tumblr GudGuyMaybe created this whimsical guide to the canine kingdom (and a few other species too): http://gudguymaybe.tumblr.com/post/159613533453/heres-an-easy-guide-to-remember-some-dog-names
Even the most expensive pair of hi-fi headphones can’t match the feeling of bass rumbling through your body at a live show. That’s why music aficionados designed The Basslet, an accessory that reproduces that sensation from your wrist. Does it make your whole body shake with deep subs? Not really, because that would be terrifying, but […]
They probably just sleep a lot. But still, you can remotely keep an eye on them when you’re at work and missing them deeply with this HD monitor from Kodak.If you have a new puppy that destroys everything in sight, or you just want to be a little more security-conscious, this WiFi camera is a […]
Thinking of a business idea is the easy part. Doesn’t even have to be a “good” idea, you can still get people to throw money at a non-existent venture, but to do that you need to at least have something even resembling a viable business plan. Why doesn’t anyone do it then? Because building that semi-viable […]