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Burn This Book: Pen Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word

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Burn This Book: Pen Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word Cover

ISBN13: 9780061774003
ISBN10: 0061774006
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship, and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves. Contributors include literary heavyweights like Toni Morrison, Salman Rushdie, Orhan Pamuk, David Grossman and Nadine Gordimer, and others.

In "Witness: The Inward Testimony" Nadine Gordimer discusses the role of the writer as observer, and as someone who sees "what is really taking place." She looks to Proust, Oe, Flaubert, Graham Green to see how their philosophy squares with her own, ultimately concluding "Literature has been and remains a means of people rediscovering themselves." In "Freedom to Write" Orhan Pamuk elegantly describes escorting Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter around Turkey and how that experience changed his life.

In "The Value of the Word" Salman Rushdie shares a story from Bulgakov's novel The Master and Margarita in which the Devil talks to a frustrated writer called "The Master." The writer is so upset with his own work he decides to burn it: "How could you do that?" the Devil asks. "Manuscripts do not burn." Indeed, manuscripts do not burn, Rushdie argues, but writers do.

As Americans we often take our freedom of speech for granted. When we talk about censorship we talk about China, or the former Soviet Union. But the recent presidential election has shined a spotlight on profound acts of censorship in our own backyard. Both provocative and timely, Burn this Book include a sterling list of award-winning writers; it is sure to ignite spirited dialogue.

Review:

"In 11 short essays by some of the world's premier novelists, this volume explores a simple question: why write? Contributor Paul Auster may put the query best: 'Surely it is an odd way to spend your life-sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper.' In response, Pico Iyer delivers a moving account of a Burmese trishaw driver living under political oppression, who for years composed (by candlelight) letters to the author, many of which were censored. Orhan Pamuk also explores this intense human hunger for stories and creative freedom with an anecdote from his March 1985 tour of Turkey, on which he introduced Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter to Turkish writers who had suffered 'repression, cruelty and outright evil' in a military coup. Francine Prose, on the other hand, makes a lively attempt to separate literature from politics (in which she cops to her own political biases in her choice of examples). The disparate voices produce a complex of reasons that drive writers, though all agree that, as observed by Morrison (wearing both editor and contributor caps), it's a 'bleak, unlivable, insufferable existence... when we are deprived of artwork.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Synopsis:

Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves.

About the Author

Toni Morrison was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1993. She is the author of many novels, including Sula, Song of Solomon, Beloved, and, most recently, A Mercy. She has also received the National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize for her fiction.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Lisa Brown, June 30, 2011 (view all comments by Lisa Brown)
There are some interesting essays in this collection about the power of words, writing and politics, author as witness, the role of art and literature in society... northing particularly earth-shattering, but some thought provoking stuff nonetheless. I also got some good book recommendations out of it, things a contributor might reference that I'd never heard of before that sound remarkably interesting, and some great points about censorship and banned books.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780061774003
Subtitle:
PEN Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word
Author:
Morrison, Toni
Publisher:
Harper
Subject:
Rhetoric
Subject:
Essays
Subject:
Freedom of speech
Subject:
Censorship
Subject:
Anthologies-Essays
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20090512
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
128
Dimensions:
8.28x5.46x.65 in. .52 lbs.

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Related Subjects


Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Essays
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » General
Fiction and Poetry » Anthologies » Literature
Health and Self-Help » Self-Help » General

Burn This Book: Pen Writers Speak Out on the Power of the Word Used Hardcover
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Product details 128 pages Harperstudio - English 9780061774003 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "In 11 short essays by some of the world's premier novelists, this volume explores a simple question: why write? Contributor Paul Auster may put the query best: 'Surely it is an odd way to spend your life-sitting alone in a room with a pen in your hand, hour after hour, day after day, year after year, struggling to put words on pieces of paper.' In response, Pico Iyer delivers a moving account of a Burmese trishaw driver living under political oppression, who for years composed (by candlelight) letters to the author, many of which were censored. Orhan Pamuk also explores this intense human hunger for stories and creative freedom with an anecdote from his March 1985 tour of Turkey, on which he introduced Arthur Miller and Harold Pinter to Turkish writers who had suffered 'repression, cruelty and outright evil' in a military coup. Francine Prose, on the other hand, makes a lively attempt to separate literature from politics (in which she cops to her own political biases in her choice of examples). The disparate voices produce a complex of reasons that drive writers, though all agree that, as observed by Morrison (wearing both editor and contributor caps), it's a 'bleak, unlivable, insufferable existence... when we are deprived of artwork.'" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Synopsis" by , Published in conjunction with the PEN American Center, Burn This Book is a powerful collection of essays that explore the meaning of censorship and the power of literature to inform the way we see the world, and ourselves.
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