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The Source of Self-Regard

Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations
Narrated by: Bahni Turpin
Length: 16 hrs and 2 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (50 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Toni Morrison (P)2019 Random House Audio

Critic Reviews

"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." (NPR)

"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.... [T]he 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)

"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) 

"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)

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Refreshing thoughts

I used to think that no one but Toni Morrison should narrate Toni Morrison's books, but this reading changed my mind. This is a wonderful collection of essays that showcases the breadth and depth of Morrison's thoughts as an artist, an activist, an intellectual and as someone with a deep love of humanity, and a sense of hope despite...well, everything. I'd thought that I could listen to this one essay at a time, in bites, but ended up bingeing over a couple of days. Like her other writings, it's too rich to take in all at once, and I am looking forward to seeing what I missed when I listen to it again and again.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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A gift to generations and generations and generations of writers.

I love this book. It felt like an actual gift from Ms. Morrison to cool souls that have been set on fire by this political lands scale. An encouragement to keep writing, reading rigorously, and creating.

8 of 9 people found this review helpful

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We lost a genius

I have read all of her novels, many of her essays, I never walk away unchanged. This text is no different, in fact it has impacted me even more. I know I will return to it again.