This episode of “Literary Arts: The Archive Project,” originally aired in March 2016. It features a lecture from prolific author Jonathan Lethem from 2007. As a writer, Lethem melds genres, often mixing crime and sci-fi with more traditional fiction. He is also known for his unpretentious incorporation of American pop-culture into his works. In this lecture, Lethem’s dry humor, sincerity, literary allusions, and post-modern sensibility are on full display as he discusses what has shaped him as a writer, including growing up in New York during the 70s, and the tragic loss of his mother when he was just fourteen years old. He also speaks to the debate on the generative function of art, calling out writers in particular. This is a great introduction to Lethem and also entertaining chance for existing fans to get to know him even better.
Jonathan Lethem is the New York Times bestselling author of eleven novels including “The Fortress of Solitude,” “Dissident Gardens,” “Chronic City,” “The Feral Detective,” and “Motherless Brooklyn,” winner of National Book Critics Circle Award. A recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, Lethem has been published in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, Rolling Stone, Esquire, and The New York Times, among others. He currently teaches creative writing at Pomona College in California.