THE INTERVIEW English class 12 NCERT Summary and Question answers

Estimated Reading Time: 4 minutes

THE INTERVIEW (Christopher Silvester)


The Interview by Christopher Silvester is a selection from his Penguin Book of Meetings in which he discusses different perspectives on famous people and their experiences with interviews. The excerpt also includes a conversation with the renowned author Umberto Eco, conducted by Mukund Padmanabhan from The HINDU. The Interview by Christopher Silvester is an in-depth examination of the role of interviews in shaping public perceptions of famous individuals. The author explores the various ways in which interviews can be used, both positively and negatively, to create an image of a person. The excerpt from the meeting with Umberto Eco provides a valuable insight into the mind of one of the most respected and celebrated authors of our time.

Part I

Part I examines the mixed views on interviews, with some considering them a valuable source of truth and art while others view them as an unwanted intrusion into private life. The author notes that interviews have been around for only 130 years, but they have had a lasting impact on how we perceive famous individuals. The author references Rudyard Kipling, who considered interviews an attack on one’s private life, and his wife’s journal entry describing how two journalists ruined their day in Boston. The author argues that in the modern world, interviews are a necessary means of communication and play a crucial role in shaping our perceptions of our peers. The power dynamics of an interview are also discussed, with the interviewer holding a significant amount of influence. The author emphasizes that the questions asked, the tone of the interview, and the way in which the answers are presented all play a role in shaping the image of the person being interviewed.

Part II

Part II is an excerpt from a conversation with Umberto Eco where he discusses his preferences, style and the success of his book “The Name of the Rose.” He explains how his philosophical and moral views are reflected in his work and how he uses “interstices” in his schedule to achieve great things. He talks about how he found his style when he presented his doctoral thesis and how that helped him to create a unique and interesting style of writing. He explains how his scholarly works are not dry and boring because of that. He also reflects on the success of “The Name of the Rose” and how it may have been due to the challenging reading experience it offers, which requires the reader to engage in interpretative reading. This excerpt provides a valuable insight into the mind of Umberto Eco, one of the most respected and celebrated authors of our time. It gives an understanding of his creative process, his preferences, and how he achieved success in his career. It will be highly beneficial for students of literature, creative writing and philosophy to read this excerpt.

Imp Questions and Answers

Do you think Umberto Eco likes being interviewed?

Answer: Yes, Umberto Eco, in all possibilities, likes being interviewed. He felt just at ease with the interviewer and answered all the questions fully and patiently without showing any hurry. He stated his achievement in a very modest manner and explained his philosophical views and interest clearly. He told his achievements in a good manner and explained his philosophical views and interest clearly. He had a good sense of humour and well responsive to the interviewer. Also, he elaborated his approach which was unique. He was mannerly, warm and properly responsive as well

How does Eco find the time to write so much?

Answer: Umberto Eco tells Mukand that there are a lot of empty spaces , periods with no important jobs, in the lives of all. He calls them ‘interstices’ or intervals. He works in these empty spaces. Second, he explains that people wondered that he had written so much on various subjects. But the fact is that he was writing on the same lines and same interests-peace, non-violence, etc. All his works were linked with the thread of common interests. It saves his time and he could write a lot in a short period of time.

What was distinctive about Eco’s academic writing style?

Answer: Umberto’s writings have an ethical and philosophical element underlying them. His non-fictional writing work has a certain playful and personal quality about it. Even his writings for children deal with non-violence and peace. This style of writing makes reading his novels and essays interesting and being like the reading of most academic writings. His works are marked by an informal and narrative aspect.

Did Umberto Eco consider himself a novelist first or an academic scholar?

Answer: Umberto Eco identified himself with the academic community, a professor who attended academic conferences rather than meetings of Pen Clubs academic. He makes his preference clear by saying, “I consider myself a university professor who writes novels on Sundays”. On week days he attends academic conferences and does other scholarly, non-fictional work

What is the reason for the huge success of the novel, The Name of the Rose?

Answer: The success of The Name of the Rose, though a mystery to the author himself, could possibly be because this detective story that delved into metaphysics, theology and medieval history interested the readers. It offered a difficult reading experience to the kind of readers who do not want easy reading experiences and those who look at novels as a machine for generating interpretations. For the same reason, the sale of his novel was underestimated by his American publishers. He even adds that the particular time at which it was published could also have been influential in its sale. He feels  as it was written at the most appropriate time. Had it been written a decade earlier or later, it would not have been so successful.

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