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

  • Riad Sattouf

    On 'The Arab of the Future'

    Franco-Syrian Riad Sattouf here discusses his emotionally honest graphic memoir, praised as ”a classic within its genre.” Sparked by the civil war in Syria, it is told from a child’s perspective, humorously balancing between two cultures.

  • Joyce Pensato

    Advice to the Young

    Homer, Mickey, Batman! Joyce Pensato – known for her unique work inspired by cartoon and comic book characters – here advises young artists to keep at it, love what they’re doing and, most importantly, “show your work, get it out there!”

  • Ulay

    Advice to the Young

    “If you want and need inspiration – go behind the central station.” The iconic artist – and self-proclaimed anarchist – Ulay here advises young artists to avoid art institutions and to make works that meet their own needs rather than that of the audience.

  • George Condo

    The Artist at Work

    The mind of American artist George Condo has been referred to as a place where “Picasso meets Looney Tunes.” Watch him at work in his New York-studio where he draws and paints his take on a 19th century painting by Manet.

  • Ulay

    Under My Skin

    This is the story of legendary artist Ulay, famous for his collaboration with Marina Abramović. As a solo artist in search for his identity, Ulay’s radical works have pushed the limits of photography and performance using his own body as material.

  • Olga Tokarczuk

    I Absorb Stories

    Olga Tokarczuk – one of the most important Polish writers of her generation – here shares how she draws inspiration from others: “People tell amazing micro-stories or even bigger stories. I seize them, absorb them and transform them in my books.”

  • 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.