Ray Bradbury Explains Why Literature is the Safety Valve of Civilization (in Which Case We Need More Literature!)

Ray Brad­bury had it all thought out. Behind his cap­ti­vat­ing works of sci­ence fic­tion, there were sub­tle the­o­ries about what lit­er­a­ture was meant to do. The retro clip above takes you back to the 1970s and it shows Brad­bury giv­ing a rather intrigu­ing take on the role of lit­er­a­ture and art. For the author of Fahren­heit 451 and The Mar­t­ian Chron­i­cles, 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. Which is to say–if you’ve been fol­low­ing the news lately–we need a hel­lu­va lot more lit­er­a­ture these days. And a few new Ray Brad­burys.

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Relat­ed Con­tent:

Ray Brad­bury Reveals the True Mean­ing of Fahren­heit 451: It’s Not About Cen­sor­ship, But Peo­ple “Being Turned Into Morons by TV”

Ray Brad­bury Gives 12 Pieces of Writ­ing Advice to Young Authors (2001)

Hear Ray Bradbury’s Beloved Sci-Fi Sto­ries as Clas­sic Radio Dra­mas

Leonard Nimoy Reads Ray Brad­bury Sto­ries From The Mar­t­ian Chron­i­cles & The Illus­trat­ed Man (1975–76)

Father Writes a Great Let­ter About Cen­sor­ship When Son Brings Home Per­mis­sion Slip to Read Ray Bradbury’s Cen­sored Book, Fahren­heit 451

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Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.