Tag : jonathan franzen

wallace federerpovestea unei capodopere literare: Roger Federer descris de David Foster Wallace

povestea unei capodopere literare: Roger Federer descris de David Foster Wallace

aceasta recomandare nu este doar pentru iubitorii de tenis, ci mai ales pentru jurnalisti, si pentru cei care vor sa scrie.

unul dintre cele mai citite articole ale acestui an (in presa de specialitate, pt jurnalisti) a fost despre felul in care scriitorul american David Foster Wallace obisnuia sa administreze informatiile pe care le afla si cum doar doua dintre textele sale – ambele despre tenis – au respectat regulile jurnalismului; pentru restul imaginindu-si dialoguri in baza faptelor pe care le obtinuse din reporting-ul pe teren.

Wallace  a fost un geniu al generatiei lui ( a murit in 2008), un geniu caruia Jeffrey Eugenides i-a adus un omagiu creind personajul principal din Intriga Matrimoniala cu elemente din personalitatea sa (am scris despre Eugenides de multe ori, dar si despre fragmentul meu fetis din literatura lui), iar Jonathan Franzen – cel mai bine cotat scriitor american al momentului , bun prieten cu Wallace – i-a dedicat in profilul pe care revista TIME i l-a facut in urma cu citiva ani, un capitol special. ( e emotionanta secventa in care povesteste ca, dupa ce Wallace s-a sinucis, Franzen a preluat obiceiul acestuia de a mesteca tutun ca sa pastreze cu el mereu ceva din prietenul lui)

In conditiile acestea Wallace care avea un succes imens la public nu a publicat in NEw York Times nimic altceva jurnalistic, decit textul despre Federer. (NY Times are o divizie importanta pentru verificarea faptelor si stilul de naratiune – imaginativ jurnalistica – a lui Wallace nu se incadra in politica ziarului)


iata insa detalii de culise din cel mai celebru profil scris despre Federer vreodata, despre cum intervievatul crede ca jurnalistul e un ciudat si nu intelege nimic din ce i se intimpla, iar rezultatul e cel mai faimos si disputat text jurnalistic din 2006.

Before he sat down with the best tennis player on the planet for a noonday interview in the middle of the 2006 Wimbledon fortnight, David Foster Wallace prepared a script. Atop a notebook page he wrote, “R.Federer Interview Qs.” and below he jotted in very fine print 13 questions. After three innocuous ice breakers, Wallace turned his attention to perhaps the most prominent theme in all his writing: consciousness. Acknowledging the abnormal interview approach, Wallace prefaced these next nine inquires with a printed subhead: “Non-Journalist Questions.” Each interrogation is a paragraph long, filled with digressions, asides, and qualifications; several contain superscripted addendums. In short, they read like they’re written by David Foster Wallace. He asks Roger Federer if he’s aware of his own greatness, aware of the unceasing media microscope he operates under, aware of his uncommon elevation of athletics to the level of aesthetics, aware of how great his great shots really are. Wallace even wrote, “How aware are you of the ballboys?” before crossing the question out.

Wallace choreographed social cues and professional reminders throughout the interview. The end of the Federer conversation comes with the caveat “Qs the Editors want me to ask [w/Apologies].” And a later discussion with Federer’s then-coach Tony Roche begins “Honor to meet you” with a reminder that Roche suffered from chronic tennis elbow and used Yonex rackets. Never comfortable in his role as a reporter, Wallace printed a preface to the Roche questions: “I’m not a journalist—I’m more like a novelist with a tennis background.” Wallace had a history of anti-credentialing himself both in person and in print, and while this reportorial and rhetorical maneuver may have disarmed sources it also created a calculus for Wallace to write under. He saw clear lines between journalists and novelists who write nonfiction, and he wrestled throughout his career with whether a different set of rules applied to the latter category.

Initially, sources reported that Federer was flummoxed by the unconventional encounter, feeling that the “questions were inane, the dude weird, and the whole exercise a complete waste of his time.” But several years later when he was asked about the resultant story–“Roger Federer as Religious Experience,” which ran in PLAY magazine, a short-lived sports supplement to New York Times Magazine–Federer recalled the interaction more fondly, saying, “I had a funny feeling walking out of the interview. I wasn’t sure what was going to come out of it because I didn’t know exactly what direction he was going to go. The piece was obviously fantastic.

Recently during an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on the social media platform Reddit, he reiterated his admiration for the story: “The thing that struck me is that I only spent 20 min with him in the ATP office at Wimbledon, and he was able to produce such a comprehensive piece.” Federer unknowingly hits on a significant aspect of Wallace’s literary journalism: his ability to imbue a story with larger significance beyond the ostensible subject. Several tangential topics emerge in the PLAY cover story beyond the standard profile of the Swiss phenom. Wallace discourses on the physiology of the human body, the transcendence of athleticism to the sublime, the difference between live spectatorship and televised tennis, the engineering and effectiveness of modern tennis rackets, and the reconciliation of divine grace and mortality. When the story was published on August 20, 2006, “the acclaim that greeted the piece was nearly instantaneous. It was among the most discussed stories of the year in the journalism industry.”


si putin despre documentarea pentru acest text

Going through Wallace’s voluminous papers at the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas, it is unmistakable that he was meticulous to the point of compulsive about every aspect of this story, from pre-interview preparations to final layout. His research comprised printouts, including eBay listings, on the particulars of Ivan Lendl’s 1980s-era GTX Pro-T racket, including its dimensions, strung weight, balance, swingweight, and stiffness.[v] Wallace also collected several Federer features from publications across the globe, including “Spin Doctors” by Tom Perotta, an account of how modern rackets have changed the game of tennis, which ran in the July/August 2006 issue of The Atlantic Monthly.

Wallace underlined and annotated much of Perotta’s piece, and used information from the article to augment his own aside on how the true revolution in racket engineering was not merely increased pace on the ball, but rather the degree and depth of topspin it engendered, especially during the service return. Other bits of research included a print-out of the Wikipedia entry for proprioception which he used for a riff on an athlete’s “kinesthetic sense,” and a Q&A transcript between Federer and a Wimbledon moderator after Federer’s straight set victory over Mario Ancic in the quarterfinals (the day before Wallace conducted his rare mid-tournament one-on-one with Federer).[vi]

Wallace begins the story with a brief anecdote about experiencing “Federer Moments” before reversing course and proclaiming there’s nothing newsworthy about his subject: “Journalistically speaking, there is no hot news to offer you about Roger Federer.”[vii] Wallace proves this point by listing the blandest of biographical details—age, family, personality, achievements; the bedrock of every banal sports feature—and concluding the paragraph dismissively: “it’s all just a Google search away. Knock yourself out.” Similar to his anti-credentialing, Wallace often approximated this type of journalistic indifference, and this particular example echoes a line from his story “Consider the Lobster” (Gourmet 2004).

Early in that piece Wallace acknowledges, “For practical purposes, everyone knows what a lobster is. As usual, though, there’s much more to know than most of us care about—it’s all a matter of what your interests are.” Wallace used that story, set amidst the 2004 Maine Lobster Festival, to explore the murky relationship between consciousness and what it means to be a gourmet. Similarly, he uses the Federer piece, with Wimbledon as his backdrop, as a vehicle to raise questions about grace and the grotesque, and the reconciliation of the two in both mind and body.


aici puteti citi textul despre Federrer care e absolut genial si care-l arata desigur pe Wallace un foarte bun cunoscator al tenisului, nu doar un pasionat (aproape fanatic).
profilul e atit de bine realizat, din asocieri, din cautarea de a intelege personalitatea lui Federrer (dincolo de tehnica de scris), incit si astazi este perfect valabil. si e o capodopera.

gatsby redford mulliganGreat Gatsby, Cinema Paradiso si Jonathan Franzen

Great Gatsby, Cinema Paradiso si Jonathan Franzen

citeodata ma simt ca-n filmul Cinema Paradiso, mai ales cind la Cinema Pro sunt filmele care-mi plac.

una dintre ferestrele mele da in curtea interioara a blocului exact fata in fata cu peretele care sprijina ecranul cel mare al cinematografului. il privesc putin de sus si, pentru ca, atunci cind se face cald, in cinematograf sunt deschise niste geamuri/aerisiri etc aud sonorul filmului. asa ca ma simt ca pustiul din Cinema Paradiso.

de vineri e Fast & Furious nr 6 si e multa galagie. pot sa va spun ca filmul are muuuulte masini si urmariri, ba chiar explozii cu duiumul, desi nu l-am vazut si nici nu o sa-l vad pentru ca nu ma intereseaza.

magia pentru mine e, cum ziceam, la filmele care mi-au placut.

recunosc secventele dupa sonor si ma bucur din nou de momentele care m-au emotionat sau m-au facut sa zimbesc.


saptamina care se incheie a fost minunata. am avut mult The Great Gatsby.

dupa muzica stiam cind e momentul in care apare Di Caprio si se prezinta Jay Gatsby, iar in spatele lui explodau artificiile de la petrecere. era zimbetul garantat din 3 in 3 ore si gindul la ce trimitere funny & smart a facut Lurhmann la James Bond.

mai tirziu recunosteam secventa accidentului& tensiunea de dupa si stiam ca o sa vina curind si impuscatura (aproape) finala.

imi pare rau ca nu puteti trai genul asta de voyeurism sonor pentru filmele care v-au placut; e o senzatie – cel putin pt mine – voluptoasa.


am multi prieteni care au vazut filmul lui Buz Lurhmann si mai putini carora le-a placut. pe unii dintre ei am reusit sa-i “mut” din tabara celor cu NU, in cea cu DA dupa ce le-am explicat cit de inovator e Lurhmann in ceea ce inseamna a aduce in limbaj actual o poveste din anii 30 care la vremea ei n-a avut mare succes. (cartea s-a vindut in 20.000 de exemplare , iar Fitzgerald a murit cu ideea ce e un ratat, mult mai tirziu romanul a intrat in curicula scolara americana si a devenit cu adevarat celebru).

daca va uitati astazi, cu obisnuintele de consum si cu ritmul interior al acestor vremuri, la productia din 1974 cu Robert Redford o sa vedeti ca filmul e plictisitor, treneaza pe alocuri, iar Mia Farrow este dusa intr-o zona isterico-mofturoaso-pisicoaso, desi Fitzgerald o descrie cu totul altfel pe Daisy.

Era genul de glas pe care-l urmaresti sesizindu-i cel mai mic crescendo si descrescendo, de parca fiecare replica ar fi o partitura muzicala ce nu va mai fi interpretata niciodata. (…) insa in glasul ei se simtea atita emotie, incit barbatii care tineau la ea cu greu l-ar fi putut uita: un glas cintat, care te subjuga, un “asculta-ma” rostit in soapta, care te incredinta ca mai adineauri a avut parte de niste intimplari asa de nostime si de interesante si ca, in scurt timp, urmeaza sa se petreaca altele la fel de nostime si interesante.  Fitzgerald, in carte.

si daca ati vazut -o pe Carey Mulligan stiti ca exact aici s-a dus cu interpretarea. De fapt, daca (re)cititi  cartea veti vedea ca Lurhman o urmeaza cu strictete si tot ceea ce face in film e sa se foloseasca de geniul lui vizual (si muzical) ca sa puna povestea intr-un limbaj (ritm, structura, viteza de montaj) al vremurilor noastre.

cam cu aceeasi tehnica, mult mai perfectionata, pe care a folosit-o si la Moulin Rouge si la Romeo & Juliet.

despre atentia lui pentru structuri si detalii, despre pasiunea lui pentru documentare si pentru a intelege cit mai mult inainte de a “traduce” totul intr-un limbaj actual, un mic fragment dintr-un interviu din Interview magazine 🙂

When I was very young, I grew up in a totally isolated place, in a very small town. I always win the bet with anyone who says, “I lived in a small town”—I grew up in a town with 11 houses, and that was the big part of town. We lived on the outskirts. But the thing is, my dad ran a cinema for a short time and I went to a tiny little Catholic school. There were only three rooms in the school and there were nuns, and I would go up to the library and there would be a bookshelf with about 10 books on it.

One of them was called The Merchant of Veniceby William Shakespeare, and I opened it and went, “I will never be able to understand that as long as I live.” And a nun named Sister DeChantl said something like, “Oh, he’s one of the greatest writers of all time!” I sort of struggled with Shakespeare for a bit, but when eventually I ran away to the city, there was a guy called Neil Armfield [the Australian film and theater director], who is one of our living treasures. He did a production of Twelfth Night.

People were giving out drinks and it was like we were in a Club Med in the Caribbean. There was music and dancing and there was a flash of light, and an actor called Robert Grubb came on in a white suit and said, “If music be the food of love, play on!” The band struck up again and I don’t remember what happened, except I understood every single word of it, and the lights came up and I went, “What was that?” So someone did that for me with Shakespeare and I became a mad Shakespeare nut and quite a bit of an academic on it. I studied it very, very heavily at drama school, and I worked with the greats. But I wanted to do that for a cinematic audience. How would Shakespeare go about making a movie? That’s how Romeo + Juliet was born. I’m a mad research junky and I researched—I could probably research my whole life and not make the movies. Cut to Gatsby . . . In a way, it was sort of the same thing, because I remember reading the book and kind of not getting it. Then I saw the Redford film . . .

WELCH: Yes! I read it first and I didn’t get it either. Then I read it again later in life and it was like someone shined a golden light through the pages. All of a sudden you’re just awash with it. The second or third time I read it, the language just glowed.

LUHRMANN: That’s the genius of Fitzgerald. Every time you reread it, you see something new that you didn’t remember from before. And the guy wasn’t even 30 when he wrote it. Jonathan Franzen said that when he wanted to learn about writing, he tried to analyze Gatsby. I’m extemporizing, but he said something like that he just rolled over to “present” his belly and “let Fitzgerald stroke it.” He just realized that he’d never understand how it was done. And that’s the genius of the book. Franzen said, “You feel like you’re eating whipped cream, and yet you feel nourished”—you know, it’s so dense but it’s so light.

So what happens to me is that I’m on the Trans-Siberian Railway—this is after a Moulin Rouge debriefing—and I’m going to meet CM [Luhrmann’s wife, Catherine Martin] in Paris with my newborn darling Lily. I think the train is going to be amazing and romantic, but I get on and it’s a tin box and the air conditioning’s rattling and there’s this Russian babushka who gives me a rubber hose and says, “You shower end of car, now.” I go, “What am I going to do? This is crazy.”

So I had a couple bottles of Australian red wine and some recorded books with me on a little iPod with speakers. One of them was Gatsby, and I put it on. Honestly, it was six in the morning before I stopped listening, and I fell asleep drinking the wine. Couldn’t wait till the next night, listened, and at the end of that experience, it was like there were birch trees in Siberia flicking by and I went, “I’ve got to make this into a movie.” That was something like 10 years before I even got the rights.


 intregul interviu aici. m-am bucurat sa descopar ca si Lurhmann il iubeste pe Jonathan Franzen un scriitor pentru care acum multi ani am facut mult lobby ca sa fie tradus si in romaneste si despre care inca mai cred ca e unul dintre cei mai mari scriitori americani contemporani (sa cititi Corectii, daca n-ati facut-o deja. am scris despre Jonathan Franzen de foarte multe ori, dar daca nu stiti nimic despre el cititi despre acest gest de prietenie)


uneori imi doresc sa pot sa merg la cite un film care -mi place mult cu fiecare dintre spectatori si sa stau sa le povestesc mici lucruri despre cum e filmat, montat si ce e in spatele fiecarui cadru.

si mi-ar fi placut ca in aceasta ecranizare, Robert Redford sa fie Gatsby, iar Carey Mulligan sa fie Daisy.

franzen 88tineretea scriitorilor mari

tineretea scriitorilor mari

nu stiu daca voi va ginditi cam ce viata au avut scriitorii ale caror carti le cititi sau daca va imaginati cum arata…

mie imi place sa ma uit pe coperta 3 sau pe coperta 4 la fotografiile lor de prezentare si sa-mi imaginez cum sunt ei ca oameni.

iata citeva fotografii cu o parte din scriitorii pe care-i iubesc, fotografii din tineretea lor:)

jonathan franzen in 1988


philip roth in 1959


truman capote in 1948


faceti un exercitiu, cautati pe net o fotografie din tinerete cu scriitorul vostru preferat

sigur o sa zimbiti.



franzen_jonathan-corectiice coperta ai alege?

ce coperta ai alege?

facem o excursie in Booktopia?

cum ar fi o retea sociala in care in locul fotografiilor de vacanta am avea copertile cartilor preferate?

eu mi-as pune la fotografia de la profil Corectiile lui Jonathan Franzen… voi ce coperta ati avea la profil?

ne vedem simbata la ora 17.00 la Gaudeamus pentru mai multe povesti despre prima retea sociala pentru carti din RO, Booktopia

like-facebookcind “like” inlocuieste “love”

cind “like” inlocuieste “love”

jonathan franzen are un editorial in new york times despre cum tehnologia actioneaza asupra ego-ului nostru.

A related phenomenon is the transformation, courtesy of Facebook, of the verb “to like” from a state of mind to an action that you perform with your computer mouse, from a feeling to an assertion of consumer choice. And liking, in general, is commercial culture’s substitute for loving.

Liking Is for Cowards. Go for What Hurts.

ii dau dreptate suta la suta si mai adaug la asta ceva ce spun in multe dintre prezentarile mele de la seminariile despre web:
like-ul de pe facebook-ul e cea mai perversa unitate de masura a internetului. ne perverteste ego-ul: facem tot posibilul sa avem mai multe like-uri, suferim daca nu obtinem like-uri, ne ajustam opiniile si comentariile – cam dupa criteriul cu care se fac focus grupuri pentru a livra ceva cit mai aproape de gustul majoritatii. si devenim altii.

si da, stiu…


prietenie – part 2

Wallace and Franzen weren’t just friends; they were part of each other’s writing lives. They had one of those passionate, competitive, creatively useful friendships you sometimes see between writers: Coleridge and Wordsworth, Fitzgerald and Hemingway. “To use, in Dave’s honor, a tennis metaphor, I felt like I had a good hitting partner”, Franzen says. “We had very, very different methods, but I could never comfortable feel, Oh, I have this thing sewn up. Because there was always Dave, goddamn it, being incredibly brilliant.”
by Lev Grossman

tot din Time-ul de saptamina asta, in care Jonathan Franzen e cover story.

pe asta am transcris-o de dragul celor care scriu “in echipa”.
nu mai transcriu alte fragmente, va fi on line curind pentru cei interesati.


Aboneaza-te la newsletter

Adresa de email: