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The Writers Forum at SUNY Brockport

John Barth -- Fiction

Host(s): Stan Sanvel Rubin and Rodney Parshall

Tape order number: C-372

Visit Date: December 9, 1976

Length: 40 minutes

Brief Summary: Barth talks about three things: the teaching of creative writing, the hero quest theme in his novels, and the forms of fiction writing. He likes creative writing programs, but recognizes that not every writer is suited to them; writers who choose to enter the university have critical as well as creative responsibilities. Barth's earlier interest in the myth-hero has waned. Barth feels that the realist novel has had its day; self-refelxive "metafiction" isn't necessarily removed from life, but it reminds us of the artifice of the novel.

Work(s) Discussed:

  • Floating Opera
  • End of the Road
  • Giles Goat Boy
  • The Sotweed Factor
  • Chimera
  • Lost in the Funhouse

Writers mentioned:

  • J. Dickey
  • D.H. Lawrence
  • R. Creeley
  • E. Cooke
  • H. Fielding
  • F. Kafka
  • S. Bellow
  • J. Joyce
  • J. Borges
  • S. Beckett
  • M. Cervantes

I have no use for the king of apprentice poet or fiction writer who is in a workshop whose talent is terrific, but who won't say anything about other people's manuscritps, who won't do the best he or she can to articulate clearly...and as intensely as possible his reaction to his peers.

-- John Barth

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