I liked this ad for a party thrown by art history majors at Heidelberg University in January. It takes a page from the world-famous Codex Manesse (which is housed in the university library) and slips some modern accoutrements (a cigarette, a bottle of Rothaus Pils, a boombox) into the fingers of its fourteenth-century figures.
In an interview several years ago with Ben Marcus for The Believer, Saunders defended the time spent in an M.F.A. program by saying, “The chances of a person breaking through their own habits and sloth and limited mind to actually write something that gets out there and matters to people are slim.” But it’s a mistake, he added, to think of writing programs in terms that are “too narrowly careerist. . . . Even for those thousands of young people who don’t get something out there, the process is still a noble one — the process of trying to say something, of working through craft issues and the worldview issues and the ego issues — all of this is character-building, and, God forbid, everything we do should have concrete career results. I’ve seen time and time again the way that the process of trying to say something dignifies and improves a person.”
– from a profile of George Saunders by Joel Lovell, New York Times, January 3, 2013