Jonathan Franzen Interview: Paris Review Excerpts
Forget the Oprah-Franzen make-up session. Here are exclusive excerpts from Jonathan Franzen’s new interview with The Paris Review about why he writes, and David Foster Wallace.
Why He Writes:
“I want to bring pleasure with everything I write. Intellectual pleasure, emotional pleasure, linguistic pleasure, aesthetic pleasure.”
On David Foster Wallace:
“I perceived, rightly or wrongly, that our friendship was haunted by a competition between the writer who was pursuing art for art’s sake and the writer who was trying to be out in the world.
“In Freedom, the recurrent metaphor is sleepwalking. Not that you’re deceiving yourself—you’re simply asleep, you’re not paying attention, you’re in some sort of dream state.”
On James Wood:
“I stopped reading my reviews after James Woods' piece on The Corrections...[W]hat he wrote was a quibbling and carping and narrowly censorious thing, with a willfully dense misreading of my Harper’s essay.”
His M.F.A. Program:
“I got married instead to a tough reader with great taste. We had our own little round-the-clock M.F.A. program.”
The Power of Music:
“I’m more envious of music than of any other art form—the way a song can take your head over and make you feel so intensely and so immediately. It’s like snorting the powder, it goes straight to your brain.”
To read more of The Paris Review’s interview with Jonathan Franzen and to view their Winter Issue, click here.