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  The Ishmael Community: Questions and Answers

The Question (ID Number 172)...

    Why did you write Ishmael as a novel? And I can't help adding -- Does it disturb you that it's taken on cult status?

    ...and the response:

    If not a novel, then how? A scholarly work? For what scholars? (And I'm not a scholar.) If you go into a bookstore and look around for a model I MIGHT have followed (that wasn't a novel), you'll be hard-pressed to find one! I'm not exactly sure what you mean by "cult status." My work hasn't been adopted by any pre- existing cults that I know of. My guess is that you mean that people tend to form cults AROUND my work. That's true---but people also form university courses and discussion groups around my work. In any case, I'm not at all disturbed.


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