Ray Bradbury: Literature is the Safety Valve of Civilization

Ray Bradbury, one of America’s beloved sci-fi writers, turns 91 today. So how about a little party favor: This retro clip takes you back to the 1970s (we believe) and it features Bradbury giving a rather intriguing take on the role of literature and art. For the author of Fahrenheit 451, literature has more than an aesthetic purpose. It has an important sociological/psychoanalytic role to play. Stories are a safety valve. They keep society collectively, and us individually, from coming apart at the seams. They’re the linchpin of civilization. And they provide a more immediate source of pleasure and wonder too. His most recent book, We’ll Always Have Paris: Stories, came out in 2009.

This clip now appears in our collection of 275 Cultural Icons. Here you can watch great thinkers and artists speaking in their own words…

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  • Tim says:

    Thanks for posting this. As a lifelong reader of Bradbury, it is just lovely to hear and see him speak about his craft. In some ways Bradbury reminds me of Updike – utterly unpretentious, writing for our pleasure just because he can.

  • A good interview which everyone should view….Happy Birthday Ray, LIVE FOREVER! XXX John

  • Thorn says:

    While I think his presented view of both animal existences, wild life and human, is simplistic (we sublimate our violence into our daily actions and, at time of filming this, he reflects the Utopianism of a past era’s optimism) there is a striking truth in what he says about both art and how we find expression through it so important to our phsycholigy as a species.

  • Jacob says:

    Beloved maybe, and prolific, but he’s not a brilliant writer, and back then, to me it seems just blabbering.

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