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Arguably the most celebrated and revered writer of our time now gives us a new nonfiction collection--a rich gathering of her essays, speeches, and meditations on society, culture, and art, spanning four decades.
The Source of Self-Regard is brimming with all the elegance of mind and style, the literary prowess and moral compass that are Toni Morrison's inimitable hallmark. It is divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11; the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches included here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, "black matter(s)," and human rights. She looks at enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, among them, painter and collagist Romare Bearden, author Toni Cade Bambara, and theater director Peter Sellars. In all, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to Toni Morrison's oeuvre.
About the Author
TONI MORRISON is the author of eleven novels, from The Bluest Eye (1970) to God Help the Child (2015). She has received the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Pulitzer Prize. In 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She lives in New York.
"The Source of Self-Regard speaks to today's social and political moment as directly as this morning's headlines... a call to action... Morrison tackles headfirst the weighty issues that have long troubled America's conscience... profoundly insightful...Is it a collection worth reading? Undoubtedly... Throughout the collection she calls on us to do what she knows, what we should all know, is possible: "To lessen suffering, to know the truth and tell it, to raise the bar of humane expectation."
"Clearly we do not deserve Morrison, and clearly we need her badly...In this collection of nonfiction written over the past four decades, the revered (and sometimes controversial) author reinforces her status as a piercing and visionary analyst of history, society, literature, language, and, always, race... the book explodes into pure brilliance... despite its overflowing content, the book still inspires the desire for more... The Source of Self-Regard is the definitive statement that Morrison, who has thought as much as anyone about the ways countries, cultures, and people fail and hurt each other and themselves, still believes that we can be better."
—The Boston Globe
"Brilliantly incisive essays, speeches, and meditations considering race, power, identity, and art... Powerful, highly compelling pieces from one of our greatest writers."
—Kirkus (starred review)
"Morrison turns a critical eye on race, social politics, money, feminism, culture, and the press, with the essential mandate that each of us bears the responsibility for reaching beyond our superficial identities and circumstances for a closer look at what it means to be human."
—Booklist (starred review)
"Some superb pieces headline this rich collection...Prescient and highly relevant to the present political moment..."