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THE SOCIAL EDGE INTERVIEW: BEST-SELLING AUTHOR MARK KINGWELL

July 15th, 2006

by Gerry McCarthy

book - nearest thing to heaven by mark kingwellMark Kingwell is a professor of philosophy at the University of Toronto. He has lectured to academic and popular audiences throughout the world. A contributing editor at Harper’s Magazine, Kingwell’s work has appeared in numerous publications including: The New York Times Magazine, Adbusters, Utne Reader, and The Globe and Mail.

     Kingwell is the author of eight books including: Dreams of Millennium, Better Living, Marginalia, The World We Want, Practical Judgments, and Catch and Release.

     His new book Nearest Thing To Heaven: The Empire State Building and American Dreams was recently published by Yale University Press. I reached him in Toronto to speak about the book.

Gerry McCarthy: In Nearest Thing To Heaven you quote Fay Wray. She once said that: "When I’m in New York, I look at the Empire State Building and feel as though it belongs to me, or is it vice versa?" You then add: "Of course, many people feel as though the Empire State belongs to them. It is, we might say, part of its iconic genius that the building, at once so forbidding and so familiar, becomes its own kind of monumental household possession, a shared treasure not just for all New Yorkers, but of anyone who has ever visited New York –in person or, sometimes more powerfully, only via the overwhelming imaginative medium of film." Can you speak to me about this? What was Fay Wray trying to say?

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