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Vonnegut on Literature

Mr. Vonnegut speaks at Case Western Reserve University.  Picture courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

Mr. Vonnegut speaks at Case Western Reserve University. Picture courtesy of the Wikimedia Foundation.

I think it can be tremendously refreshing if a creator of literature has something on his mind other than the history of literature so far. Literature should not disappear up its own asshole, so to speak.”

~Kurt Vonnegut in the Paris Review

Read the whole interview here.

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3 Responses to Vonnegut on Literature

  1. Matt Gibson March 24, 2010 at 5:46 am #

    True dat. New things always arrive in good time. This quote was in reference to Vonnegut’s lack of literary experience. I like it partly because I found all the rules that I learned in writing class paralyzed me. It took years to shake them off. I mostly like it, though, because he refers to literature as having an asshole.

  2. David S. Wills March 24, 2010 at 5:33 am #

    Great quote. I’m a literature graduate and I often focus on the history of literature… but writing emerges from its own time. Kerouac was obsessed with Thomas Wolfe, but On the Road was something entirely new, and dealing with the world at the time. Hunter S. Thompson tried to emulate Hemingway, but ended up completely unique.

  3. David S. Wills March 25, 2010 at 7:32 am #

    Haha, yeah.

    I’d glad I studied literature for so long because it armed me with so many writing tools… But ultimately, the more I live in the real world, the better my writing becomes.

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