The Interview: Summary and Analysis

At the beginning of the chapter, the author familiarizes the readers with the method of the interview as a very common practice in journalism that dates back over 130 years. He says that it is not surprising that people have various opinions about the concept of interviews and their uses. While some people think of it very highly, some cannot bear to give an interview. He talks about how an interview can lead to a lasting impression. He highlights the old saying that when we make perceptions about a particular person, the original identity of their soul is taken away. Celebrities have often criticized interviews.

The Interview Summary 

The author speaks of Rudyard Kipling’s wife, who wrote in her diary about two reporters in Boston who ruined her and thought of interviewing as an assault and is of the perception that this crime should have a punishment.  This chapter also holds an excerpt from an interview by Mukund, belonging to The Hindu Newspaper, with Umberto Eco, a professor at the University of Bologna, Italy. He has an impeccable status as a scholar for his philosophies on semiotics, literary interpretation, and medieval aesthetics before taking up writing fiction.

The interview is centered on his successful novel, The Name of the Rose, which sold more than 10 million copies. Mukund began by asking him the reason behind his ability to do things that are different, to which Umberto said that he does the same thing and justifies that the book revolves around peace and non-violence. Umberto classifies himself as an academic scholar, attends various conferences throughout the week, and writes on Sundays. He confirms that people considering him a novelist and not a scholar have no effect on him and that it is tough to influence people with one’s academic work.

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The readers learn of Eco’s belief that lives have empty spaces like the ones in atoms and call them interstices. He confesses that he has done most of his productive work during that period of time. He remarks that his novel is not an easy read, and it has a detective feature with metaphysics, theology, and medieval history. Nevertheless, he believes that if the novel were written ten years earlier or later, it would not have had the same success. The reason behind the success of the novel is a complete mystery.

The Interview Analysis

The chapter, The Interview, written by Christopher Silvester, is an excerpt from ‘The Penguin Book of Interviews’. It speaks of the power of interviews as a way of interrogation and refers to journalism. He discusses the importance of interviewing in everyone’s lives irrespective of literacy, class, and more. He has spoken about the celebrities’ views regarding interviews and talks about its functions and methods. He has also added an interview with the writer, Umberto Eco.

The Interview Theme 

The Interview by Christopher Silvester is a selection from his Penguin book of meetings where he discusses the different assessments of his meeting with famous people. In part one, he has offered us varying perspectives about his encounters, their capacities, their benefits, and strategies. It conveys the importance of meetings as a discussion mechanism and how different the perceptions are because of arrangements. Part two is focused on the meeting with Umberto Eco and throws light on the thinker, academician, and writer. It allows the reader to peek at his literary method. 

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The Interview Key Points

The key takeaway from the chapter is that the writer has put forward the basic facts about interviews and their importance. He was a reporter for the private eye for over ten years. During his career, he had interviewed celebrities and figured out both the positive and negative opinions on interviews. He found out that most of the celebrities viewed it as an unnecessary intrusion in their lives. The writer is, however, of the opinion that interviews are one of the most reliable sources of information.