Just as the Medici became patrons of the arts in Renaissance Italy, higher education has become the patron of writers in the postwar U.S.
At least, that's one way a reader could interpret a new book by UCLA English professor Mark McGurl. "The Program Era: Postwar Fiction and the Rise of Creative Writing" takes a new look at contemporary American literature, exploring the work of such writers as Vladimir Nabokov, Thomas Wolfe and Joyce Carol Oates in light of the creative writing programs that nurtured and/or obstructed their talents.
In this video interview, McGurl talks about his book and about Nabokov, Wolfe and Oates. He also comments about creative writing programs, including those in the University of California system.
The interviewer is Chris Gondek, known for his biography podcasts.