Monday, April 26, 2010

Lit up literature

I don’t like cigarettes.

In fact I think they should be banned.

Not a particularly groundbreaking statement – or is it?

What sort of world would it be if it were smoke-free? You would probably put many health professionals out of work, unclog the hospital system and save billions in health care.

But what will happen to literature?

There are a slew of authors past and present who have lit up – Kurt Vonnegut, George Orwell, Albert Camus, J K Rowling.

George Orwell

Mark Twain

Author Richard Klein analyses the origins of smoking in his book “Cigarettes Are Sublime” – in an attempt to quit his habit. Klein suggests cigarettes offer more than a whack of nicotine, but the very act of lighting up incites “a darkly beautiful, inevitably painful pleasure that arises from some intimation of eternity”.

If cancer-sticks supposedly offer so much relief to the typically tortured soul of the writer – what will happen if they are banned? Would the world be denied future masterpieces?

Then again Karl Stig-Erland Larsson of The Millennium Trilogy was a smoker and passed away before his fourth book was finished. So have we already been denied because of cigarettes?

I don’t like cigarettes.

In fact [book lover or not] I still think they should be banned.

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