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From one of America’s great professors, author of Why Teach? and Why Read?--an inspiring exploration of the importance of writing well, for creators, educators, students, and anyone who writes.
Why write when it sometimes feels that so few people really read--read as if their lives might be changed by what they’re reading? Why write, when the world wants to be informed, not enlightened; to be entertained, not inspired? Writing is backbreaking, mindbreaking, lonely work. So why?
Because writing, as celebrated professor Mark Edmundson explains, is one of the greatest human goods. Real writing can do what critic R. P. Blackmur said it could: add to the stock of available reality. Writing teaches us to think; it can bring our minds to birth. And once we’re at home with words, there are few more pleasurable human activities than writing. Because this is something he believes everyone ought to know, Edmundson offers us Why Write?, essential reading--both practical and inspiring--for anyone who yearns to be a writer, anyone who simply needs to know how to get an idea across, and anyone in between--in short, everyone.
"[An] in-depth analysis of the positivity of literary pursuits . . . This informative and entertaining read will delight those interested in the writing process." - Library Journal
"[WHY WRITE?] is filled with anecdotes about canonical writers, along with personal stories from the author’s writing and teaching career. Edmundson is adept at finding quotes and telling tales from the English romantic poets, Greek philosophers, and American transcendentalists." - Publishers Weekly
"[Edmundson’s] especially good on the importance of a writer finding his/her voice and he offers plenty of encouragement. This book is very much a pep talk. The author is an optimistic, enthusiastic cheerleader on the sideline, encouraging us to sit down and try." - Kirkus
"Why Write? ponders why so many people try their hand at something that can be so time consuming and contain so many pitfalls, and Edmundson offers satisfying answers for readers and writers alike." - Shelf Awareness
"The latest in Edmundson’s continuing noble effort to defend intellectual seriousness against triviality." - Gerald Graff, author of CLUELESS IN ACADEME
"So much more than a how-to book, Why Write? is Professor Edmundson’s lifelong meditation on the meaning of writing and existence." - David Clemens, Founder and Coordinator, Monterey Peninsula College Great Books Program
"In the guise of a manual or handbook for writers, Mark Edmundson has written an impassioned argument for the writing life." - Morris Dickstein, author of DANCING IN THE DARK
"A high stakes venture, in which getting it right on the page is a way of bringing yourself back to life." - Laura Kipnis, author of AGAINST LOVE
"A marvelous handbook on how to write well, with penetrating commentary on good writers from Plato to John Grisham." - J. Hillis Miller, author of ON LITERATURE
"Edmundson is a genial and inspiring guide to the mysteries and very real practicalities of writing. The tone and fluency of this book are an education." - Adam Phillips, author of MISSING OUT
"A warm, generous book about how to live--and even, in its wise last chapters, about how to grow old." - Michael Gorra, author of PORTRAIT OF A NOVEL
"Full of wit, sage advice, and a well-honed passion for the art of writing, which in Edmundson’s view looks much like the art of living well. Just the right companion for readers and writers." - David Mikics, author of SLOW READING IN A HURRIED AGE