As an undergraduate at Cornell I was a chemistry major because my brother was a big-shot chemist. Critics feel that a person cannot be a serious artist and also have had a technical education, which I had. I know that customarily English departments in universities, without knowing what they’re doing, teach dread of the engineering department, the physics department, and the chemistry department. And this fear, I think, is carried over into criticism. Most of our critics are products of English departments and are very suspicious of anyone who takes an interest in technology. So, anyway, I was a chemistry major, but I’m always winding up as a teacher in English departments, so I’ve brought scientific thinking to literature. There’s been very little gratitude for this.
Kurt says he studied Chemistry because his brother was already a big-shot chemist. This is a big deal. I don´t know whether eldest brothers are aware of their responsibility when they choose a degree. I am not sure if they know how they can influence on their siblings. How many soft, but genuine vocations have been destroyed by the big brothers influence?
Regarding the fear mentioned in the text, we have said several times that this dread is reciprocal between scientists and men of letters and that we try to make this dread as soft as possible. It is been accepted that the man of letters thinks all scientists are brutes and, on the other hand, scientists think men of letters are damsels. This is unbearable.
With this text we want to express our gratitude to Kurt Vonnegut for the incorporation of the scientific thought to literature, even if we don´t believe in this thought or scientific method so much.
(looking at Vonnegut’s picture, he looks like Fogwill, the way that Cortazar believed that Baudelaire and Poe were actually the same person)