Joyce Carol Oates on "Going Home Again"

Joyce Carol Oates on "Going Home Again"

Joyce Carol Oates (Jeff Sciortino)

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At the end of the essay, you say that the question, “Do you think that you would be the writer you are today if you’d had a middle-class or wealthy background?” asked by an audience member during your presentation, didn’t seem very Lockportian to you. Why is that?
I've never considered Lockport a place where theoretical, philosophical, or intellectual ideas were much discussed—but maybe I've been mistaken. It was a very welcome surprise.

What do you like about the Princeton area, where you live now?
Princeton University is where I teach, so naturally, it’s sensible for me to be here. It’s a rural, suburban area where I live, about four miles outside Princeton. I can look out my window and see part of a lake, lots of trees. We live on three acres of land. It’s very peaceful here. I can get a lot of work done. And Princeton University is one of the great universities of the world, with a wonderful library and extremely wonderful colleagues and friends who live here. The intellectuals, fellow writers and poets in the area are very concentrated. It’s a wonderful community.

I’ve been here since 1978. I hope to stay here the rest of my life. My husband teaches at the university, as I do, so we’re very settled here. We have a new house. We just moved in. He’s my second husband. My first husband died in February 2008, and I remarried in March 2009. We just have a complete life here.

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