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This interview is taken from PN Review 78, Volume 17 Number 4, March - April 1991.

Laura (Riding) Jackson in Conversation with Elizabeth Friedmann Elizabeth Friedmann
Elizabeth Friedmann: You have written somewhere that 'writing is not my work; it is the form my work takes.' What, then, do you consider to be your work?

Laura (Riding) Jackson: I concern myself here with avoiding the too-facile categorization of activities 'writer' and 'writing'. These are loose terms. They do not collect different activity-modes but amalgamate them - associate them as roughly connected. I regard my 'work' as work of exploring the possibilities of thought exactitudes, that is exactitudes of thought within the possibility of what the possibilities of language exactitudes allow.

In an Epilogue essay, entitled 'The Literary Intelligence', you wrote, 'People who devote themselves to literature fall into three classes: those to whom it is a field of activity like any other, rich in opportunities of personal success and in pleasures of craft-exercise - those who "know how to write", as it is put; those to whom literature is the region of reality where all the disjoined problems of time become one all-immediate Problem; and those to whom it is, again, a profession - but the exercise not so much of craft faculties as of "the intelligence".' I feel certain that you would place yourself in the second category you have identified. Are there others you would like to mention who belong in this category?

As I imply, I identify myself under the heading 'literature' as to 'department' of work, but as to others, this would have to be someone or someones ...


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