In 1963, a sixteen-year-old San Diego high school student named Bruce McAllister sent a four-question mimeographed survey to 150 well-known authors of literary, commercial, and science fiction. Did they consciously plant symbols in their work? he asked. Who noticed symbols appearing from their subconscious, and who saw them arrive in their text, unbidden, created in the minds of their readers? When this happened, did the authors mind?
It’s the question that haunts every English student. Click on the picture to see answers from Ayn Rand, Jack Kerouac, Norman Mailer, Ray Bradbury, and more.
1961 letter from Groucho Marx to T.S. Eliot: “I had no idea you were so handsome.”