The Cruel Radiance: Notes of a Prosewriter in a Visual Age

The Cruel Radiance: Notes of a Prosewriter in a Visual Age

by Ron Powers
     
 

In this collection of essays, stories, and literary nonfiction, a noted journalist defends fine storytelling in an age of mass-mediated culture  See more details below

Overview

In this collection of essays, stories, and literary nonfiction, a noted journalist defends fine storytelling in an age of mass-mediated culture

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
This collection of lectures, fiction excerpts and criticism by Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Powers has as its theme the author's faith in the redemptive power of the written word and his parallel belief that exploitative broadcast media are eroding our cultural heritage. In five well-written, inspirational speeches delivered to the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference from 1983 to 1993, Powers examines the characteristics of forceful nonfiction writing as exemplified by James Agee (Let Us Now Praise Famous Men) and advocates a return to narrative journalism as storytelling. Several selections from Powers's novels (Face Value; Toot-Toot-Tootsie) deal with dehumanizing aspects of the TV industry. Five critical pieces written when he was a columnist for GQ magazine satirize and indict popular programs, including the Morton Downey Jr. Show and thirtysomething as either destructive or trivial. A provocative and thoughtful collection. (Jan.)
Library Journal
This is a book that will appeal to people who are writers, hope to be writers, or are just interested in writing. Powers, television critic for the Chicago Sun-Times and author of White Town Drowsing (LJ 11/1/86) and Far from Home (LJ 4/15/91), believes that the impact of broadcast media on writing has been disastrous for the country and our sense of community. The first five essays are adapted from addresses Powers gave at the Bread Loaf Writers Conference in Vermont over a period of ten years. He discusses writing, the visual aspects of writing, and the effects of photography, TV, and other graphic images. Powers concludes with examples of his writing, both nonfiction, which particularly interests him, and fiction. A good addition to academic libraries.-Rebecca Wondriska, Trinity Coll. Lib., Hartford, Conn.
Denise Perry Donavin
Collected from Powers' books, lectures, newspaper columns, and magazine pieces are these essays on television and life. The lectures (written with great seriousness for audiences of fellow writers at a hallowed conference that has been a tradition since 1926) give way to idiosyncratic essays on "the face of television in the twentieth century." The collection really loses momentum when Powers sums up with reviews of long-dead TV shows like "thirtysomething" and "L.A. Law". Perhaps he simply could not resist including lines like "Hope is the June Allyson of the Junk Bond age," from "thirtysomething". Or perhaps, Powers is only seeking to demonstrate a point made in one of his lectures: "The most corrosive, insidious effect of broadcasting is its influence on the world of writers."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780874516906
Publisher:
Middlebury College Museum of Art
Publication date:
11/01/1994
Pages:
269
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.10(d)

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