Paris Review interviews online

The complete Paris Review interviews with Writers at Work are going to be online, starting with the 1950s. You can read the beginning and see/download a PDF file of the rest. For some reason, they’re called ‘the DNA of literature’.

bq. Now, for the first time, you can read, search and download any or all of over three hundred in-depth interviews with poets, novelists, playwrights, essayists, critics, musicians, and more, whose work set the compass of twentieth-century writing, and continue to do so into the twenty-first century.

bq. Release dates for The DNA of Literature PDFs:
1950s: Online Now
1960s: January 10, 2005
1970s: February 14, 2005
1980s: April 4, 2005
1990s: May 16, 2005
2000s: July 1, 2005

Here’s some Thurber:bq. Well, once I did a drawing for The New Yorker of a naked woman on all fours up on top of a bookcase–a big bookcase. She’s up there near the ceiling, and in the room are her husband and two other women. The husband is saying to one of the women, obviously a guest, “This is the present Mrs. Harris. That’s my first wife up there.” Well, when I did the cartoon originally I meant the naked woman to be at the top of a flight of stairs, but I lost the sense of perspective and instead of getting in the stairs when I drew my line down, there she was stuck up there, naked, on a bookcase.

bq. Incidentally, that cartoon really threw The New Yorker editor, Harold Ross. He approached any humorous piece of writing, or more particularly a drawing, not only grimly but realistically. He called me on the phone and asked if the woman up on the bookcase was supposed to be alive, stuffed, or dead. I said, “I don’t know, but I’ll let you know in a couple of hours.” After a while I called him back and told him I’d just talked to my taxidermist, who said you can’t stuff a woman, that my doctor had told me a dead woman couldn’t support herself on all fours. “So, Ross,” I said, “she must be alive.” “Well then,” he said, “what’s she doing up there naked in the home of her husband’s second wife?” I told him he had me there.

(Via Notes from the (Legal) Underground)

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