Performing the Literary Interview: How Writers Craft Their Public Selves

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U of Nebraska Press, 2001 - Literary Criticism - 260 pages
When authors are interviewed about their books or themselves, much more is going on than a simple conversation. The interview becomes a performance space for authorial orchestration and self-promotion, and interviewers in turn respond to such self-display and theatrics. Featuring absorbing conversations with nine well-known authors, including poets Richard Howard and Gerald Stern, novelist Isabel Allende, and scholar-intellectual Camille Paglia, Performing the Literary Interview is the first in-depth look at this type of performance art. Interviews with poets, fiction writers, and intellectuals enable John Rodden to identify a range of rhetorical strategies and their effects and to formulate a typology for appreciating the various roles that interviewers and interviewees assume. Traditionalists foreground their work rather than themselves, raconteurs are storytellers who skillfully spin anecdotes and creatively showcase their personalities, and advertisers more explicitly use the literary interview to promote and sell themselves. This pioneering, persuasive study stakes a claim to a new area of scholarly inquiry in the humanities. The literary interview can no longer be considered only as a voyeuristic window on an author, or a celebrity vehicle, or even an entertaining diversion, but should also be approached as a serious genre meriting scholarly attention and analysis.

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Performing the literary interview: how writers craft their public selves

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Rodden (Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves) carefully examines the genre of the literary interview, dividing authors into three basic types according to their interview personae. There ... Read full review


Pack Bass
W S Di Piero
Frank Conroy
Marge Piercy
Gerald Stern
Richard Howard
John Nathan
Camille Paglia
Isabel Allende

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About the author (2001)

\John Rodden is the author of six books, including Lionel Trilling and the Critics: Opposing Selves (Nebraska 1999).

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