The interviewer speaks back: Turning the tables of the literary interview in contemporary French novels

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

Abstract

This essay explores the fictional interview's function within the French context, where the literary interview is a sacred institution. Following a brief history of the literary interview in France and in French fiction, a study of five contemporary novels (Amélie Nothomb's Hygiène de l'assassin, Christine Angot's Interview, Alain Veinstein's L'Intervieweur, Bernard Pivot's Oui, mais quelle est la question?, and Julia Kerninon's Buvard) reveals how the fictionalized novel rewrites what Olivier Nora calls the "visit to the great author" and debunks the myth of the divine writer. In doing so, this essay also shows how fictional depictions of the literary interview depart from the myth of the outstanding journalist whose mission is to inform the public. Instead, they depict interviewers as human and fallible figures who sometimes fall prey to their own weaknesses. Staged literary interviews in the contemporary French novel thus expose the underlying tensions and struggles of this human encounter, often from an ironic perspective.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)287-309
Number of pages23
JournalBiography
Volume41
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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