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Conversations with Jerzy Kosinski

Overview

The interviews in this collection will convince the reader that Jerzy Kosinski's public persona was one of the greatest creations. Few authors were ever more adept at press interviews. For Kosinski, the author of nine novels, including The Painted Bird, Steps, Being There, and The Hermit of 69th Street, the interview was part performance, part public relations, part blind date. Kosinski in person was different from the existential adventurer in his novels. He was not so much engaged as engaging. though his ...

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Overview

The interviews in this collection will convince the reader that Jerzy Kosinski's public persona was one of the greatest creations. Few authors were ever more adept at press interviews. For Kosinski, the author of nine novels, including The Painted Bird, Steps, Being There, and The Hermit of 69th Street, the interview was part performance, part public relations, part blind date. Kosinski in person was different from the existential adventurer in his novels. He was not so much engaged as engaging. though his fiction was brutal, he was charming. The contrast between Kosinski and the intensity of his fiction created the backdrop for his interviews.

Like his readers, Kosinski's interviews were obsessed with the facts of his life. As a young boy he survived the Holocaust. He escaped Communist Poland. His life became the stuff of novels. He came to the United States with little money and no command of the English, but within a year he was a Ford Fellow at Columbia University and not long afterward was married to an American heiress and was living on Park Avenue. Yet Kosinski felt that his unique experiences, when transmuted to fiction, became a didactic lesson for others. "A human being is loaded with the greatest power," he says in one interview, "his imagination and the power to transcend his own conditions."

The interviews here are published chronologically without abridgement. The same questions recur and Kosinski's answers are filled with discrepancies and contradictions. "A good interview," he once wrote, "is like truth itself, the temporary resolution of various contradictions." These compelling conversations recapture part of Jerzy Kposinski, who took his own life on May 3, 1991.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781617036965
  • Publisher: University Press of Mississippi
  • Publication date: 9/1/2012
  • Series: Literary Conversations Series
  • Pages: 256
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.59 (d)

Meet the Author


Tom Teicholz, the author of several non-fiction books, is an editorial consultant and a former contributing editor of Interview.
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Read an Excerpt

Brandon Tartikoff: I imagine that you are constantly called upon to attest whether or not all the gothic happenings, bizarre sexual encounters, and horrific incidents described in your novels,are derived from your personal experience. How do you reconcile the autobiographical element in your writing with your personal definition of a novelist?

Kozinski: I never wrote my books as autobiographical; I never claimed them to be anything but novels. Why I wrote them in a manner that perhaps suggests autobiographical elements stems from my basic notion of who a novelist is. I write because I feel that a novelist has a lot in common with others, not because he differs from them.

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Table of Contents

Introduction
Chronology
Stepmother Tongue 3
Trade Winds 6
Jerzy Kosinski 9
The Art of Fiction XLVI - Jerzy Kosinski 20
Jerzy Kosinski: An Interview 37
Jerzy Kosinski Reaches Down into Life and Writes 60
The Devil Tree: An Interview with Jerzy Kosinski 66
A Nation of Videots 88
Jerzy Kosinski: Tapping into His Vision of Truth 103
The Renegade Novelist Whose Life Is Stranger Than Fiction 111
The Psychological Novelist as Portable Man 120
Conversation with Kosinski 132
My Books Are Weapons, A Blind Date with Jerzy Kosinski 142
An Interview with Jerzy Kosinski on Blind Date 150
Sellers and Kosinski - Alliance for the Absurd 159
Life at a Gallop 162
A Passion for Polo 167
Old Man River Lures Literary Giant to City 174
Being There and Staying There: Jerzy Kosinski 180
Jerzy Kosinski Is the Zbig of Books 188
Jerzy Kosinski and the Writer on the Holocaust 193
Penthouse Interview 196
Jerzy Kosinski Leaves 'em Amused, Bemused and Confused 213
Encounter - Jerzy Kosinski 216
Jerzy Kosinski, the Last Interview 227
Index 238
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