I haven't done a Gallimaufry entry in a few weeks and the arts recordings are piling up way too close to the ceiling. So today I thought I would put up an interview with Kurt Vonnegut Jr. conducted as part of the Readers Almanac series from January 28, 1973. Vonnegut discusses the state of writing in America, literary criticism, Slaughterhouse Five, his latest (then) book Time and Timbuktu, Joseph Conrad and writers in general.
Since the state of literary book publishing in the U.S. (or the world for that matter, but here especially) has gone through a worse case of depression than the Music business, and one which may emulate a similar collapse, it's interesting to listen to what the climate was like for book publishing in the early 1970s. One tends to think it's always been bad. Like the Broadway play, it's been dead as long as its been around. But considering the demise of the local bookstore and the small literary publisher or even literary magazine, I would say we've achieved the nightmare scenario we all feared would happen.
But then, things can always change. Maybe people will start reading again. Maybe publishers will stop pandering and start looking at the bigger picture. Maybe the dumb-down trend will reverse.
Weekend Gallimaufry - an interview with H.L. Mencken - A a rare and almost unknown interview with Journalism icon H.L. Mencken - recorded June 30, 1948. Mencken is interviewed by colleague Donald H Kirkley of The Baltimore Sun. Read more...