In 1956 Jean Stein interviewed William Faulkner for The Paris Review. The start of that interview:
Mr. Faulkner, you were saying a while ago that you don't like interviews.
The reason I don't like interviews is that I seem to react violently to personal questions. If the questions are about the work, I try to answer them. When they are about me, I may answer or I may not, but even if I do, if the same question is asked tomorrow, the answer may be different.
How about yourself as a writer?
If I had not existed, someone else would have written me, Hemingway, Dostoyevsky, all of us. Proof of that is that there are about three candidates for the authorship of Shakespeare's plays. But what is important is Hamlet and A Midsummer Night's Dream, not who wrote them, but that somebody did. The artist is of no importance. Only what he creates is important, since there is nothing new to be said. Shakespeare, Balzac, Homer have all written about the same things, and if they had lived one thousand or two thousand years longer, the publishers wouldn't have needed anyone since.
But even if there seems nothing more to be said, isn't perhaps the individuality of the writer important?
Very important to himself. Everybody else should...[read on]