The Writer in Politics

The Writer in Politics

by William H. Gass
     
 

William H. Gass and Lorin Cuoco here present an edited but uncut record of the proceedings of the first international conference convened by the International Writers Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The topic—the writer in politics—was divided into three parts: politics as material for the writers’ work ("The Writer in Politics")

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Overview

William H. Gass and Lorin Cuoco here present an edited but uncut record of the proceedings of the first international conference convened by the International Writers Center at Washington University in St. Louis.

The topic—the writer in politics—was divided into three parts: politics as material for the writers’ work ("The Writer in Politics"), politics as a threatening power over the pen ("The Writer under a Politics"), and politics as a viewpoint held by writers ("The Writer with a Politics"). Major addresses were delivered by Breyten Breytenbach, a white South African who was an early critic of apartheid serving seven years in jail before being exiled from his homeland; Nuruddin Farah, the Somali author of a number of internationally recognized novels, including the trilogy Variations on the Theme of an African Dictatorship, who has also suffered exile; Carolyn Forché, an American poet whose experiences as a Guggenheim Fellow in El Salvador led to her noted second book of poetry, The Country Between Us; Antonio Skarmeta, the Chilean short story writer, screen writer, and novelist whose Insurrection deals with the Nicaraguan Revolution; Luisa Valenzuela, an Argentine novelist and journalist who fled her home country in 1979 and returned a decade later after the restoration of democracy only to find remnants of the former military regime still a legitimate target for her absurdist prose; and Mario Vargas Llosa, the widely acclaimed Peruvian novelist who founded Libertad, the political party under whose banner he unsuccessfully ran for president of his country.

The Writer in Politics also includes edited transcriptions of the panel discussions that followed each of the six major addresses. Panelists included Irish poet Eavan Boland, author of seven books of poetry, including In a Time of Violence; Marc Chenetier, professor of American literature at l’Ecole Normale Supérieure in Paris and translator of numerous American authors—including Gass—into French; Robert Coover, writer-in-residence at Brown University and author of such works as Origin of the Brunists and A Public Burning; Ron Himes, founder of the St. Louis Black Repertory Company, which produces African American and Third World playwrights; Liu Binyan, former special correspondent for China’s official newspaper and author of China’s Crisis, China’s Hope; poet Eric Pankey, whose books include Apocrypha and This Reliquary World; Anton Shammas, Palestinian Israeli author whose works include the novel Arabesque; and Richard Watson, professor of philosophy at Washington University and author of The Philosopher’s Demise: Learning French and the novel Niagara.

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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Six essays and panel transcriptions from The Writer in Politics conference, Washington University, October, 1992, featuring writers describing their place in the political arena. The presenters have "walked the walk" and include Mario Vargas Llosa, Luisa Valenzuela, Nuruddin Farah, and Carolyn Forche who collectively have run for political office, been exiled, jailed, or active as witnesses in a political life. Their insights are a fascinating examination of the role writers play can play as critics, resistors, and contributors to a society's evolution. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780809320509
Publisher:
Southern Illinois University Press
Publication date:
06/28/1996
Series:
International Writers Center Series
Edition description:
1st Edition
Pages:
216
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)
Lexile:
1210L (what's this?)

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Meet the Author

William H. Gass is David May Distinguished University Professor in the Humanities and director of the International Writers Center at Washington University. His published works include the collection of short stories In the Heart of the Heart of the Country; the collections of essays Fiction and the Figures of Life, The World Within the Word, and The Habitations of the Word; the book-length essay On Being Blue; and the novels Omensetter’s Luck, Willie Masters’ Lonesome Wife, and The Tunnel.

Lorin Cuoco is the associate director of the International Writers Center at Washington University.

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