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Literature and the Rise of the Interview$
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Rebecca Roach

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780198825418

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198825418.001.0001

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‘Control and Communication’

‘Control and Communication’

The Interview at Mid-Century

(p.132) 4 ‘Control and Communication’
Literature and the Rise of the Interview

Rebecca Roach

Oxford University Press

This chapter traces the fortunes of the interview in the years after the Second World War. At mid-century the interview was becoming increasingly associated with the surveillance of citizens and cybernetics. In turn, interviews were no longer considered a product of co-production but rather as an interrogative profiling device—as publicized by Senator McCarthy among others. Innovative broadcasters such as Mike Wallace began to adopt their own interrogative style of interviewing toward the profilers in an attempt to foster a critically engaged citizenry. But it was in the infamous Treason case of Ezra Pound that questions around the subject’s analytical control in the era of New Criticism came to a head for the literary community. Meanwhile, for some avant-garde authors including William Burroughs and Jack Kerouac, the interrogative possibilities of interviewing established it as a useful means for creating a countercultural project able to counter New Criticism.

Keywords:   New Criticism, Ezra Pound, cybernetics, Mike Wallace, surveillance, William Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, self-interviewing, profile

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