Barth talks about three things: the teaching of creative writing, the hero quest theme in his novels, and the forms of fiction writing. He likes creative writing programs, but recognizes that not every writer is suited to them; writers who choose to enter the university have critical as well as creative responsibilities. Barth's earlier interest in the myth-hero has waned. Barth feels that the realist novel has had its day; self-reflexive "metafiction" isn't necessarily removed from life, but it reminds us of the artifice of the novel.
Work discussed include Floating Opera, End of the Road, Giles Goat Boy, The Sotweed Factor, Chimera, and Lost in the Funhouse. Writers mentioned: J. Dickey, D.H. Lawrence, R. Creeley, E. Cooke, H. Fielding, F. Kafka, S. Bellow, J. Joyce, J. Borges, S. Beckett, and M. Cervantes.