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The Fast Reverse | Elmer on The Sirens of Titan

Jonathan Elmer     “Everyone now knows how to find the meaning of life within himself.” “Literature should not disappear up its own asshole.” Taken together, these two sentences—the first is the opening line of The Sirens of Titan (1959); the second comes from an interview in 1977—capture a style of assertion, unique to Vonnegut, that veers wildly from pontification …

The Body Constant | Phillips on The Sirens of Titan

Sarah Phillips     Anthropologists think a lot about bodies. Biological anthropologists are interested in the adaptation, variation, and evolutionary history of humans and their relatives, looking at the bodies of humans and our ancestors, living and extinct. Medical anthropologists investigate the human body from a range of perspectives, focusing on how perceptions and experiences of the body and of …

Freedom, Purpose and Morality in The Sirens of Titan | Shapshay on The Sirens of Titan

The Sirens of Titan is a novel of ideas that takes the reader on an imaginative romp through the solar system. Three timeless philosophical questions are explored in the course of Malachi Constant’s space odyssey: the metaphysical question of whether free will is an illusion; the moral question of whether good ends can justify evil means; and, most prominently, the existential question of the meaning of life—that is, the question of whether an individual human life has a purpose, and, if so, what that purpose is.