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Soul at the white heat : inspiration, obsession, and the writing life

by Oates, Joyce Carol, 1938- (Author)

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"Why do we write?" With this question, Joyce Carol Oates begins an imaginative exploration of the writing life, and all its attendant anxieties, joys, and futilities, in this collection of seminal essays and criticism. Leading her quest is a desire to understand the source of the writer's inspiratio... Full description


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Table of Contents:
  • I. The writing life: Is the uninspired life worth living? ; This I believe : five motives for writing ; Anatomy of a story ; The writing room
  • II. Classics: My life in Middlemarch : Rebecca Mead ; Charles Dickens : a life : Claire Tomalin ; "The King of Weird" : H.P. Lovecraft ; My faraway one : selected letters of Georgia O'Keefe and Alfred Stieglitz ; Simenons ; Two American prose masters : Ellison, Updike ; A visit with Doris Lessing (1973)
  • III. Contemporaries: The childhood of Jesus : J.M. Coetzee ; The detective as visionary : Derek Raymond ; "Catastrophe in art" : Julian Barnes ; "When the legend becomes fact" : Larry McMurtry ; Paper losses : Lorrie Moore ; Emotion of man and animals : Karen Joy Fowler ; Wiindigoo justice : Louise Erdrich ; In other worlds : Margaret Atwood ; The storyteller of the "shattered personality" : Patrick McGrath ; Why be happy when you could be normal? : Jeanette Winterson ; Diminished things : Anne Tyler ; Smiling woman : Margaret Drabble ; The inventions of Jerome Charyn ; "After Auschwitz" : Martin Amis ; London NW : Zadie Smith ; Joan Didion : risk and triumph ; Unflinching about women : the short stories of Lucia Berlin ; Edna O'Brien : The little red chairs ; "Disputed truth" : Mike Tyson ; The fighter : a film by David O. Russell ; The mystery of Muhammad Ali
  • IV. Real life: A visit to San Quentin (2011).