Literary greats answer high-school student's survey on "symbolism," 1963


13 Responses to “Literary greats answer high-school student's survey on "symbolism," 1963”

  1. VentcoreFrog says:

    I really liked reading Bradbury’s response. He seemed really enthusiastic and generally had a pretty swell opinion on the whole thing.

  2. Always similarly annoyed by the demand to “find symbolism” in works of fiction. As if just reading and enjoying it is never enough. There’s gotta be some secret meaning, which the author deemed important enough to cleverly hide within the narrative, but not important enough to just, like, SAY.

    • Saltine says:

      I know that playing “hunt the symbol” is frustrating, but the idea behind teaching literary interpretation is that students learn to read for meaning and develop skills leading to greater pleasure. Additionally, it’s worth consider literature as a historical artifact that can enlighten us about the culture from which it emerges. That is, reading in class isn’t necessarily about pleasure reading. You can do that at home, alone, and you should. (Disclosure: I am an English professor.)

  3. Mister44 says:

    Aw – no Fritz Lieber.

  4. senorglory says:

    Ayn Rand is such a delightful personality.  

  5. UncaScrooge says:

    I am informed that getting high and parsing the symbolism of Pink Floyd lyrics leads to a deeper appreciation of their works.

  6. Jose says:

    Hah!  Ralph Ellison misspelled “humorous.”  Liked the bit about placing symbolism in a work subconsciously, and then discovering it.

  7. zombienietzsche says:

    Man, I really wanted to see what Asimov had to say!

  8. Jason Self says:

    The title of this article says 1963, but that letter is clearly dated in 1964.

  9. Freddie Freelance says:

    All I can think of is if he really lived at 577 Rosecrans out on Point Loma that’s a nice area.

  10. Sarzzo says:

    Bruce McAllister is my friend, mentor and writing coach.  He was my creative writing professor at the University of Redlands. Bruce wrote an incredible science fiction book called Dream Baby, about a psychic nurse during the Vietnam War. To me it’s on par with Gibson’s Neuromancer. I highly recommend it.

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