Slate on Art and 9/11

Slate’s editors asked a group of novelists, artists, journalists and other creatives what work of art helped them make sense of 9/11. Among the responses:

Christopher Benfey, Slate art critic
I was spooked to find in Gravity’s Rainbow so many anticipations of 9/11, from its familiar opening words (“A screaming comes across the sky”) to stray details (“But then last September the rockets came”), and, on the last page, a reference to “the Light that brought the Towers low.” Back in 1973, Pynchon gave us our great paranoid dream of a world ruled by “The Firm,” where “there is a Pearl Harbor every morning, smashing invisibly from the sky.” But he also offers some refuge in the quiet precincts of Emily Dickinson’s poetry, invoked more than once, and in the sheer imaginative arc of his onrushing book.

Harold Bloom, author

I’ve seen absolutely nothing adequate to the event. It may be another sign that our culture has grown numb.

Continue reading for replies from Francine Prose, George Saunders, Jane Smiley, Robert Pinsky and others.