Sunday, September 20, 2015

A wide-ranging Philip Roth interview online at Web of Stories

Readers interested in  Philip Roth should check out the long, wide-ranging, and apparently little-known interview he gave in 2011 to the website Web of Stories. It's a 2-3 hour-long goldmine of Rothiana: 163 mini-videos (length ranging from under a minute to a few minutes each) in which Roth reflects on his life, work, opinions, attitudes, influences (including Henry Miller), the death-haunted genesis of Sabbath's Theater, writing about sex, arguing Vietnam with Updike, and much more. To give a taste of the whole, here's a sample from the transcript of the video titled "Living With the Character You Invent" in which Roth speaks of the unique way that both writers and readers can 'know' fictional characters:

ROTH: ... you invent the character and you live with the character. And the fact of the matter is that there's no one in this world you know, including yourself, as well as you know the... that character. We don't know people outside of books, of fiction, the way we know them when we either write the book of fiction or read the book of fiction. Everybody who's ever read Madame Bovary knows Madame Bovary better than they know any other woman in their life. This is the... this is the great charm and value of fiction, among others, and that is that we know in ways... the reader knows in ways he or she can't know in life.

1 comment:

LMR said...

"The misanthropy is genuine."

Oh, Roth, how I adore you!