Erica Jong

Erica Jong

Sexuality and Creativity

“The urge to create and the urge to copulate are very close.” Watch the iconic feminist writer Erica Jong speak candidly of being fuelled creatively by desire, her experiences as a female writer and what she has come to realize about men.

The main character in Jong’s controversial novel ‘Fear of Flying’ (1973), Isadora Wing, is driven by the wish to become a great writer: “… and for a woman that’s an ambition that in the 1960s was laughed at.” At the same time, Wing also nurtures the strong desire to find the right partner, which leads her not to the love of her life, but to a man who helps her come to an important self-realization: “Often in our lives, we meet people who are pivotal. They may not become our partners forever, but they’re pivotal in that they push us to discover more about ourselves.”

“Sexuality and creativity are very allied.” Love is an inspirational thing, but also very fleeting – like creativity. Jong finds that she writes more when she is in love and lists several artists who were also very driven by their sexuality – and who consequently also made awful mistakes: “We’re very confused, creative people, but as we get older, we get less confused.” In connection to this, Jong comments that as you get older and have children, grandchildren etc., it gets easier to tackle “the human condition”, where we aim for monogamy but often fail: “Anything that takes your focus from yourself makes life better.”

Jong believes that men would be much happier if they stopped obsessing over their genitals: “Men in our society are obsessed with their cocks. From the age of 12 to the age of whatever… they believe their cocks are them.” She then goes on to share her feelings about a very important man in her life – her husband. The couple met in their mid-forties, at a point in their lives when they were both “very scared and quite cynical”: “I wouldn’t want to live my life without him.”

Erica Jong (b. 1942) is an American novelist, essayist and poet. She has published more than 25 works of both fiction and non-fiction, but is most known for her 1973 novel ‘Fear of Flying’ which has been translated into more than 40 languages and sold over 27 million copies. The novel was considered controversial due to its portrayal of female sexuality linked to second-wave feminism. In 2015 Jong published the sequel to her debut, ‘Fear of Dying’.

Erica Jong was interviewed by Pejk Malinovski in connection with the Louisiana Literature festival in Denmark, August 2016.

In the interview, Erica Jong discusses her novels ‘Fear of Flying’ (1973) and ‘Fear of Dying’ (2015).

Camera: Klaus Elmer
Edited by: Kasper Bech Dyg
Produced by: Marc-Christoph Wagner
Copyright: Louisiana Channel, Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, 2017

Supported by Nordea-fonden

  • Michael Kvium

    Circus Europe

    “It’s a constant pleasure for me that I can get people so worked up.” Join us for a studio visit with painter Michael Kvium, particularly known for his characteristic figurative imagery. He here talks about addressing contemporary issues through his art.

  • Chris Kraus

    Changing Lives

    Experience American writer Chris Kraus, author of the iconic feminist novel ‘I Love Dick’, in this passionate talk about the apolitical art scene and the challenges of being a woman in our contemporary consumer-focused world.

  • Laurie Anderson

    A Virtual Reality of Stories

    In this exclusive video, Laurie Anderson presents her prizewinning virtual reality work from 2017: “I wanted to see what it would be like to travel through stories, to make the viewer feel free,” the legendary multimedia artist says.

  • Paul Auster

    Unhappy Unrest

    Paul Auster is one of the USA’s most important contemporary writers. In this short video, he speaks his mind about the growing right-wing and Donald Trump: “I think he’s the most dangerous being that has ever existed in public office in the United States.”

  • Mika Rottenberg

    Social Surrealism

    She finds her odd “bigger than life characters” on the internet. In her peculiar, dreamlike video works they use their bodies as means of production creating what the artist calls “a spiritual kind of Marxism.” Meet the incomparable Mika Rottenberg!

  • Marina Abramović & Ulay

    A Living Door of the Museum

    Standing naked in the main entrance of a museum, facing each other while the audience passes sideways through the small space. Legendary performance artists Marina Abramović and Ulay share the story behind their poetic work ‘Imponderabilia’.

  • Bill Viola

    Cameras are Soul Keepers

    When video artist Bill Viola was 6 years old he fell into a lake, all the way to the bottom, to a place which seemed like paradise. "There's more than just the surface of life." Viola explains. "The real things are under the surface".

  • Wang Shu

    Architecture is a Job for God

    The Chinese architect Wang Shu’s buildings – a crossover between traditional Chinese culture and large-scale modern architecture – have earned him prestigious awards. “Democracy means a really diverse society,” says the architect in this inspiring interview.

  • Margrethe Odgaard

    Colour Diary of New York

    Becoming more aware of your surroundings can “open a new dimension inside as well as outside yourself.” Meet award-winning Danish designer Margrethe Odgaard who has trained herself to register the world through colours.

  • Nick Cave

    The World is my Skin

    Have you ever wished that you could put on a suit which would open up the imagination and take you to the world of your dreams? In this video artist Nick Cave presents his wearable sculptures, the 'Soundsuits', made from discarded everyday materials.

  • Gerhard Richter

    In Art We Find Beauty and Comfort

    “I don’t really believe art has power. But it does have value. Those who take an interest in it find solace in art. It gives them huge comfort.” Gerhard Richter, one of the greatest painters of our time, discusses beauty in the era of the internet.

  • Peter Land

    Man Falling

    Meet an artist who uncompromisingly uses himself in his art. Inspired by his own fears and anxieties Peter Land makes disturbingly humorous work, but it was moral qualms that were behind his groundbreaking video of himself dancing naked.