“Given his devotion to empirical fact, it seems odd to think that Galileo’s most important ideas might have their roots not in the real world, but in a fictional one.” Galileo’s crucial contributions to physics may have come from measuring the hell of Dante’s Inferno.
Recently Salman Rushdie spoke at a conference in Delhi. He had been scheduled to appear with the Pakistani politician Imran Khan, who later pulled out of the event citing the “immeasurable hurt” that The Satanic Verses had done to Muslims. Rushdie, who had earlier been prevented from attending the Jaipur literary festival for fear of his presence inciting a riot, dismissed Khan’s claims: “The chilling effect of violence is very real and it is growing in this country.”
When asked about his tenure as a professor of creative writing, Harry Crews used to say, “I may be at the university, but I damn sure ain’t of the university.” But in talking to his former students, Crews’s biographer, Ted Geltner, found that in spite of the writer’s efforts to distance himself from academia, he really was a passionate, memorable teacher. (Bonus: Yours truly named one Crews work his “most representative” Florida book.)