An Interview with Jules Feiffer

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To my mind, there are few screenwriters with as mesmerizing a career as Jules Feiffer, the Village Voice satirist and cartoonist whose work manifested into just three direct-to-screen pictures, one play adaptation, and an array of unproduced screenplays—one of which was plucked from the archives last year. One aspect of my affection for Feiffer's work comes from the way I was introduced to him: as a wide-eyed fourth grader assigned his 1995 children's novel A Barrel of Laughs, A Veil of Tears for school, immediately recognizing his cartoon-style as the cover of my heavily-used copy of The Phantom Tollbooth . Most grade-school assignments did not linger—I can't remember a lick of Where the Red Fern Grows —but Feiffer stuck with me. His work has the feel of a boyish whirl meets the delirious dysfunctions of the world, a sensibility I would later find in authors like Nathanael West (who I learned was an influence) or Kenneth Patchen's novels, and almost nowhere else.