Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth / Edition 1

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The most inclusive collection of creative nonfiction available, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth is the only anthology that brings together examples of all three of the main forms in the genre: the literary memoir, the personal essay, and literary journalism. Featuring a generous and diverse sampling of more than sixty works, this collection includes beautiful, disturbing, and instructive works of literary memoir by such writers as Mary McCarthy, Annie Dillard, and Judy Ruiz; smart, funny, and moving personal essays by authors ranging from E.B. White to Phillip Lopate to Ntozake Shange; and incisive, vivid, and quirky examples of literary journalism by Truman Capote, Barbara Ehrenreich, Sebastian Junger, and many others. This unique volume also contains examples of captivating nature writing, exciting literary travel writing, brilliant essays in science, surprising creative cultural criticism, and moving literary diaries and journals, incorporating several classic selections to set a context for the contemporary work. The editor's general introduction and introductions to each of the five sections provide useful definitions, crucial history, critical context, and abundant issues to debate. Ideal for undergraduate and graduate courses in creative nonfiction, literary journalism, essay writing, and all levels of composition, Contemporary Creative Nonfiction: The Art of Truth is also an essential resource for all nonfiction writers, from novices to professionals.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195135565
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 1/4/2001
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 576
  • Sales rank: 586,465
  • Product dimensions: 9.00 (w) x 6.30 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Table of Contents

John Cheever
from The Journals
May Sarton
from Journal of a Solitude
Gerald Early
M.F.K. Fisher
"Paris Journal"
George Dennison
from Temple
Gretel Ehrlich
"From the Journals"
Edward Robb Ellis
from Diary of a Century
James Thurber
"Snapshot of a Dog"
Mary McCarthy
"Yonder Peasant, Who Is He?" from Memories of a Catholic Girlhood
Annie Dillard
from An American Childhood
Maxine Hong Kingston
"No Name Woman," from The Woman Warrior
Hilton Als
"Notes on My Mother"
Andre Dubus III
"Tracks and Ties"
Kathryn Harrison
from The Kiss
Dorothy Allison
from Two or Three Things I Know for Sure
Andre Dubus
"Lights of the Long Night" and "Husbands," from Broken Vessels
Fenton Johnson
from Geography of the Heart
Mary Karr
from The Liar's Club
Judy Ruiz
"Oranges and Sweet Sister Boy"
Spalding Gray
"Sex and Death to the Age 14"
Tobias Wolff
"A Federal Offense," from In Pharaoh's Army
Harvey Pekar and R. Crumb
"The Harvey Pekar Name Story"
E.B. White
"Once More to the Lake"
James Baldwin
"Equal in Paris," from Notes of a Native Son
Ralph Ellison
"On Being the Target of Discrimination"
Shirley Abbott
"That Old-Time Religion," from Womenfolks
Hayden Carruth
"Country Matters"
Philip Lopate
"The Dead Father: A Rememberance of Donald Barthelme"
Vivian Gornick
"At the University: Little Murders of the Soul"
Jamaica Kincaid
"A Small Place"
Nancy Mairs
"Body in Trouble," from Waist-High in the World
Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
"Current Events," from Colored People
Thomas Lynch
"The Undertaking"
Jane Shapiro
"This is What You Need for a Happy Life"
Joy Williams
"Save the Whales, Screw the Shrimp"
Ntozake Shange
"What Is It We Really Harvestin' Here?"
Stanton Michaels
"How to Write a Personal Essay"
John Hersey
"The Fire," from Hiroshima
Truman Capote
from In Cold Blood
Michael Herr
"Illumination Rounds," from Dispatches
Norman Mailer
"The Turkey Shoot," from The Executioner's Song
Mikal Gilmore
"Last Words," from Shot in the Heart
Joyce Johnson
"November 1987," from What Lisa Knew
Barbara Ehrenreich
"Nickel-and-Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America"
Ann Hodgman
"No Wonder They Call Me a Bitch"
Joan Didion
from Salvador
Tom Wolfe
"Yeager," from The Right Stuff
Jon Krakauer
"Summit, 1:25p.m., May 10, 1996, 29,028 Feet" from Into Thin Air
Sebastian Junger
"The Zero-Moment Point," from The Perfect Storm
Edward Abbey
Memoir: "Havasu," from Desert Solitaire
Sue Hubbell
Personal Essay: "Spring," from A Country Year
John McPhee
Literary Journalism: from Annals of the Former World
Gretel Ehrlich
Memoir: "Lijiang," from Questions of Heaven
Naomi Shihab Nye
Personal Essay: "One Village"
Eddy L. Harris
Literary Journalism: from Mississippi Solo
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
Memoir: from The Hidden Life of Dogs
Lewis Thomas
Personal Essay: "The Medusa and the Snail"
Atul Gawande
Literary Journalism: "When Doctors Make Mistakes"
Meghan Daum
Memoir: Music Is My Bag: Confessions of a Lapsed Oboist"
Janet Malcolm
Personal Essay: from The Silent Woman
David Foster Wallace
Literary Journalism: "Shipping Out: On the (Nearly Lethal) Comforts of a Luxury Cruise

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  • Posted July 11, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Excellent for Writers

    No matter what form of writing you are most active in, this book is brilliant. The ideas that are presented are simply that and Roorbach makes it clear that some of the strategies he talked about will not work for everyone. Even readers who are not writers will love the essays and works of creative nonfiction that are used in this book. It allows the reader/writer to get a grasp of different genres of creative nonfiction and then see examples of each of them. Excellent choice for writers all over. I was originally introduced to this book in a college writing course and unlike some writing books I was introduced to, actually found it helpful without being preachy. Is a little pricey.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 27, 2003


    Bill Roorbach¿s The Art of Truth was an inspirational read that every student of creative nonfiction should be reading. The introduction provides an astounding trove of knowledge concerning the fourth genre. Chapter introductions and selections are essential tools. Here are some maxims from Roorbach I¿ll consult as I write--best advice for writers since Aristotle's Poetics. There's plenty more in the book, which makes it worth a lot more than $39.95. 1. Potatoes never get onto the page. 2. Aim for the palate of the imagination. 3. People are often uncomfortable with truth, but deserve it. 4. Nothing is easy in creative nonfiction. 5. Good faith is the key. 6. Good creative nonfiction confounds expectation. 7. Writers take risks. 8. Use every tool at your disposal: voice, language, drama, passion, characters, literary talent, and learning. 9. Marks on the page are never the reality they evoke or attempt to evoke, and can never be. 10. Always attempt to recover some form of experience. 11. Memory is as faulty as knowledge. 12. Verifiable accuracy takes second place to truth of voice. 13. Creative nonfiction aspires to art. 14. Don¿t worry about the label; just get to work making art. 15. Opposing camps are just camps no matter what weapons they pull out and no matter what casualties they cause or take. 16. The common denominator is humanity. 17. Literature must have life to last. 18. Keep the breast meat moist. 19. Time tells the difference between good and bad writing. 20. Essays last, fictions pass. 21. There is room on the big shelf for all. 22. Language makes all other values possible. 23. The spell of the real is different from the spell of fiction. 24. All creative nonfiction must have a discernable self at center: the writer. 25. Voice is important; the reader knows who¿s talking. 26. Representations of self wear many masks. 27. Nonfiction writers are true to the encyclopedia of self. 28. The subject is crucial from beginning through middle to end. 29. Extraordinary coincidence is a source of great fun and mystery and depth in nonfiction. 30. Creative nonfiction makes probable impossibility possible. 31. Creative nonfiction is not formulaic, mediocre, or commercial writing. 32. Good creative fiction is smart.

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