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Listening: Interviews, 1970-1989

Listening: Interviews, 1970-1989

by Jonathan Cott


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A wide-ranging collection of interviews and profiles from twenty years of Jonathan Cott’s remarkable writings  

“All I really need to do is simply ask a question,” Jonathan Cott occasionally reminds himself. “And then listen.” It sounds simple, but in fact few have taken the art of asking questions to such heights—and depths—as Jonathan Cott, whom Jan Morris called “an incomparable interviewer,” one whose skill, according to the great interviewer and oral historian Studs Terkel, “is artless yet impassioned and knowing.” 

Collected here are twenty-two of Cott’s most illuminating interviews that encourage readers to listen to film directors and musicians, actors and writers, scientists and visionaries. These conversations affirm the indispensable and transformative powers of the imagination and offer us new ways to view these lives and their worlds. What is it like to be Bob Dylan making a movie? Carl Sagan taking on the cosmos? Oliver Sacks doctoring the soul? John Lennon, on December 5, 1980? Elizabeth Taylor, ever? From Chinua Achebe to Dr. Seuss (Theodor Geisel), Federico Fellini to Werner Herzog, and Oriana Fallaci to Studs Terkel, Listening takes readers on a journey to discover not ways of life but ways to life. Within these pages,Cott proves himself to be, in the words of Brain Pickings’s Maria Popova, “an interlocutor extraordinaire,” drawing candid insights and profound observations from these inspired and inspiring individuals.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781517909017
Publisher: University of Minnesota Press
Publication date: 04/21/2020
Pages: 360
Sales rank: 577,200
Product dimensions: 6.20(w) x 9.30(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Jonathan Cott is a contributing editor at Rolling Stone and has written for The New York Times, The Washington Post, and The New Yorker. He is author of twenty books, including Pipers at the Gates of Dawn: The Wisdom of Children’s Literature; Days That I’ll Remember: Spending Time with John Lennon and Yoko Ono; Susan Sontag: The Complete Rolling Stone Interview; and Dinner with Lenny: The Last Long Interview with Leonard Bernstein. He lives in New York City.

Table of Contents



Chinua Achebe: At the Crossroads

George Balanchine: Dancing with Mr. B

J. G. Ballard: Halos of Light

Ray Davies: Afternoon Tea on Hampstead Heath

Bob Dylan: Behind the Mask

Oriana Fallaci: The Art of Unclothing an Emperor

Federico Fellini: The Language of Dreams

Theodor Geisel: The Good Dr. Seuss

Richard Gere: Face-to-Face

Stéphane Grappelli: The Prince of Violins

Werner Herzog: Signs of Life

Mick Jagger: Some Girls

John Lennon: December 5, 1980

Astrid Lindgren: The Happy Childhoods of Pippi Longstocking

Henry Miller: Reflections of a Cosmic Tourist

Lou Reed: A New York State of Mind

Oliver Sacks: The Neurology of the Soul

Carl Sagan: Taking On the Cosmos

Sam Shepard: Lies of the Mind

Elizabeth Taylor: Passion

Studs Terkel: Nothing But Listen

Marie-Louise von Franz: Forever Jung


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