Word Meaning, Summary, Important Questions Of Chapter 7 The Interview | Class 12
Hindi Meaning Of Difficult Words | Chapter 7 The Interview
About The Poet | Christopher Silvester | Chapter 7 The Interview
Christopher Silvester (1959) was a student of history at Peter House, Cambridge. He was a reporter for Private Eye for ten years and has written features for Vanity Fair. Following is an excerpt taken from his introduction to the Penguin Book of Interviews, An Anthology from 1859 to the Present Day.
Short Summary Of Chapter 7 The Interview In English
This is an excerpt taken from Christopher Silvester’s introduction to the ‘Penguin Book of Interview, An Anthology from 1859 to the Present Day.
In this excerpt, Christopher Silvester talks about the invention of interview in the field of journalism. What came into being a little over hundred and thirty years ago, has made a place for itself in journalism. Now, every educated person in the world will have read or come across at least one interview. Celebrities are interviewed every now and then, some are interviewed repeatedly. Therefore, it is possible that different people will have different opinions about interviews, especially of its functions, methods and merits. To some, it’s the greatest source of truth and a form of art. However, others, mainly celebrities, feel victimized. They claim that it is an intrusion into their private lives. They look down upon it because they feel diminished by it.
Some famous celebrities are or were strictly against interviews. According to V.S. Naipaul people tend to lose a part of themselves because they are wounded by interviews; Lewis Carroll, never agreed to give interviews because he detested being a lionized. This is why he avoided meeting new people, interviewers and fans asking for his autograph. Rudyard Kipling was once quoted saying to the reporters that interviews were immoral, a crime, cowardly and vile. H.G. Wells, although agreed to be interviewed frequently, too felt the interviewing ordeal. Later he interviewed Joseph Stalin. For Saul Bellow interviews were like thumb prints on his windpipe. He used this expression to refer to the pressure and discomfort felt by a celebrity while giving an interview.
There may be many drawbacks of interviews, yet Mr. Silvester feels that it is an extremely ‘serviceable medium of communication.
According to Mr. Denis Brian, it is because one person is asking another person questions that we come to know about the person. Hence, “the interviewer holds a position of unprecedented power and influence.
This extract is from an interview of Mr. Umberto Eco, writer of the famous novel ‘The Name of the Rose. The interviewer is Mr. Mukund Padmanabhan from ‘The Hindu. The readers come to know about various aspects of Mr. Eco’s writing styles and ideas.
Umberto Eco was a professor at the University of Bologna in Italy. He was known as a scholar of semiotics, literary interpretation and medieval aesthetics. Eventually, he turned to writing fiction more or less at the age of fifty. In 1980, his novel The Name of the Rose’ won him many accolades.
During the interview Mr. Eco says that it may appear as if he is doing many things all at once. However, he insists that he has always pursued his philosophical interests, and continues to do so through his writings and his novels. He reveals his secret of success. He says that he utilizes and takes advantage of the empty spaces in between his tasks and meetings.
Mr. Padmanabhan then asks Mr. Eco about the playful and personal quality in his writing, whether it is fiction, non-fiction or any of his scholarly works. He wants to know how did it came to be- was it natural or consciously adopted? To this Mr. Eco replies that he had always had such narrative writing style. He says novel writing happened to him accidentally. One day he had so he started writing narratives.
Mr. Umberto Eco identifies himself as an academician and likes to be called so. He has done more philosophical writing over (forty) than fictional writing (five novels), yet he is more popular as a fiction writer than as an academician. When Mr. Padmanabhan asks Mr. Eco the reason behind the massive success of his novel ‘The Name of the Rose. Mr. Eco replies that he doesn’t know either. He says it was probably because of the time when it was written, which Umberto Eco feels was simply appropriate. He goes on to say that had the book come out ten years prior or later, the novel would not have received so much acclaim.
Important Previous Year Questions From Chapter 7 The Interview
SAI (2 marks)
- What are some of the pros of interviews?
- What do celebrities dislike most about interviews?
- What do some of the primitive cultures have to say about being photographed?
- What does Saul Bellow mean by ‘thumbprints on his windpipe?
- Why does Denis Brian say that “The interviewer holds a position of unprecedented power and influence.”?
- What did Umberto Eco identified more as? Why?
LA II (6 marks)
- What makes Umberto Eco an excellent interviewee?
- How does Mr. Eco manage to find time to do so many things all at once?
- How is Umberto Eco’s style of academic writing different from others?
- What according to Umberto Eco, is the reason behind the grand success of his novel “The Name of the Rose?
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Answer Of Chapter 7 The Interview For The Above Questions
- Interviews, have become a fundamental part of journalism. It is a useful means of communication. At times, it is the biggest source of truth, and it is practiced as art. Denis Brian has stated that in today’s world we get to know “our contemporaries” through their interviews.
- Celebrity writers believe that the interviews unduly intrude in their private lives. They regard themselves as victims of interviews. They claim that the interview in some way ‘diminishes’ them. Certain celebrities like V.S. Naipaul have claimed that interviews leave them wounded, while others like Rudyard Kipling have referred to it as a crime and an immoral act.
- Some primitive cultures believed that getting oneself photographed would rob them of their souls.
- ‘Thumbprints on his windpipe’ means to choke or suffocate somebody by applying pressure on his throat. Saul Bellow uses this expression to refer to the pressure and discomfort felt by a celebrity while giving an interview.
- Interviews help us know our contemporaries and their opinions. They serve as a means of communication between the celebrities and the audience. In this case, the interviewer is endowed with a very special power and he becomes our chief source of information about personalities.
- Umberto Eco considered himself an academic scholar first and then a novelist. He wrote more scholarly articles as compared to novels; and he attended academic conferences and not meetings of Pen Clubs and writers. According to him, he was a university professor who wrote novels on Sundays. “I started writing novels by accident,” he said.
- Umberto Eco, in all possibilities, likes being interviewed. He readily answers every question asked by Mukund Padmanabhan in an energetic and lively manner. He does not seem apprehensive about sharing his secrets, experiences and opinions with the interviewer, and consequently, the world. There is no indication throughout the interview that he dislikes being interviewed.
- During the interview, Mukund Padmanabhan reiterates David Lodge’s surprise on Umberto Eco’s large amount of works and how he manages to write them all. To this Eco replies that just like the universe has empty spaces, our lives too, have a lot of empty spaces; he calls them ‘interstices. Whenever he has a few moments to spare in between two different tasks, instead of wasting them, he uses the time to write. He even gives an example of his working technique. He says that while waiting for someone to come up the elevator he keeps himself busy.
- Eco’s writing style is strikingly different from that of the standard academic mode. The academicians first make a thorough research, then move on to prove their hypotheses, and finally give their conclusion on the subject. The final outcome, therefore, comes out as tedious. Eco, on the other hand, tells the story of his research, including his “trials and errors”. While the scholars usually use a very depersonalized and dull manner, Eco’s manner is personalized and playful, and in the form of a narrative.
- Umberto Eco has rightly pointed out that the success behind ‘The Name of the Rose’ is unknown and even a mystery to him as well. According to him, it is certainly not possible to ascertain the reason or logic behind a book’s success or failure; one can only make wild guesses. Perhaps the time in history when it was written has proved favorable for its success. According to Mukund, the novel’s setting in the medieval past might have contributed to its success. But many novels written about the medieval past have failed to get as much success.