Essays (unabridged audiobook)

Essays (unabridged audiobook)

by Wallace Shawn

Audio CD(Unabridged)

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“Full of what you might call conversation starters: tricky propositions about morality... politics, privilege, runaway nationalist fantasies, collective guilt, and art as a force for change (or not)...It’s a treat to hear him speak his curious mind.”—O Magazine

In these beautiful essays, Wallace Shawn takes us on a revelatory journey in which the personal and political become one.

Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon; discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the “unobtrusives,” the people who serve our food and deliver our mail; or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattan’s cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings. He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a more honest light. He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life.

With a sharp wit, remarkable attention to detail, and the same acumen as a writer of prose as he is a playwright, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to understand—and change it.

Praise for Wallace Shawn and Essays: 

“Lovely, hilarious and seriously thought provoking, I enjoyed it tremendously.”—Toni Morrison

“Wallace Shawn writes in a style that is deceptively simple, profoundly thoughtful, fiercely honest. His vocabulary is pungent, his wit delightful, his ideas provocative.”—Howard Zinn, author, A People’s History of the United States

“Wally Shawn’s essays are both powerful and riveting. How rare to encounter someone willing to question the assumptions of class and the disparity of wealth that grows wider every year in this country. To have such a gentle and incisive soul willing to say what others may be afraid to is considerably refreshing.”—Michael Moore, film-maker

“Wallace Shawn’s career as a playwright has been uncompromisingly devoted to proving, again and again, that theater is an ideal medium for exploring difficult matters of great consequence. The qualities that make his dramatic work so challenging, startling, unsettling, sensual, mind-and-soul expanding, so indispensible, are equally in evidence in the marvelous political and theatrical essays collected here. The basic faith of politically progressive people, that human beings are full of decent impulses perverted by political and economic malevolence, is in Shawn’s writing held up to the liveliest, sharpest scrutiny imaginable; not, as in so much reactionary art, to shift blame from oppressor to oppressed, or from artifice to Nature, not to insist that we’re innately, inescapably incapable of change, but rather as a scrupulous accounting of the slippery ethics, dream logic, fear-ridden resistance to progress, disturbing desires, of the greatest problem confronting all our hopes for a better, transformed world: Us, the actors in our collective drama. His essays are without sentiment and entirely resistant to the easy comforts of despair. Complexities are rendered delightfully plain, obfuscations are unsnarled and illuminated, clarity and rational thought are organized to plumb mysteries, and mysteries are respected and celebrated. Shawn’s language, his unmistakable, original voice, felicitous, is unadorned, elegant, immediate, true. He’s also a brilliant interviewer, as everyone who’s seen My Dinner With Andre (which is just about everyone) knows. And, of course, he’s very funny.”—Tony Kushner, playwright, Angels in America

“Wallace Shawn is a bracing antidote to the op-ed dreariness of political and artistic journalism in the West. He takes you back to the days when intellectuals had the wit and concentration to formulate great questions - and to make the reader want to answer them.”—David Hare, playwright

Wallace Shawn is an Obie Award-winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor (Star Trek, Gossip Girl, The Princess Bride, Toy Story). His plays The Designated Mourner and Marie and Bruce have recently been produced as films. He is co-author of the movie My Dinner with Andre and author of the plays The Fever, The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colours.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781608460045
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publication date: 05/01/2010
Edition description: Unabridged
Pages: 4
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 5.00(h) x (d)

About the Author

Wallace Shawn is an Obie Award-winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor. His plays The Designated Mourner and The Fever have recently been produced as films, and his translation of Threepenny Opera was recently performed on Broadway. He is the co-author of My Dinner with Andre, The Fever, and Aunt Dan and Lemon, among other works.

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Essays (unabridged audiobook) 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 13 reviews.
suesbooks on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed reading these essays, although i certainly did not agree with all he said. i also did not believe all the personal information he shared, but i do wonder if he sees himself exactly as presented. His descriptions of Bush and his colleagues were probably accurate, but i find his description of their similarity to all of humanity inaccurate.
drbubbles on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
They read very simply, sometimes seeming too simple, as though written for children; still I was amazed at how well he articulated many things I have pondered with less clarity.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The most beautiful shecat pheonix has ever seen pad in. She has orange fur and bron yes with golden flecks in them. She pads over to pheonix and lays down near him.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Hissed at twilight and scrached her my mate she scrache her again narrowing her eye warning one get lost!((wont be on for a week))
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im back
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Her ghost watches
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"Remember l will always love you, Evanescencewing." He pads away.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Me thinks im locked out ere to.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Kk.) "Your always my mate sky. I was just greeting twilight...thas all."*griffin looks around an leaves. Pheonix licks sky
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
*bit into one wing, piricing it. Then spat out a feather and hopped back.* Bleaugh. Do you eagles ever wash?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
She crouches down and swiftly creeps through the forest.<p> [Hawkpaw]
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Simon_Wagstaff More than 1 year ago
Anyone who like the film "My Dinner With Andre" will enjoy this book. Wallace Shawn co-starred and co-wrote "My Dinner With Andre" and his hyper-rational yet quirky style comes across well in "Essays". The book is divided into two sections: one dealing with politics and society and one dealing with art. As a Quaker I found "Essays" especially thought provoking in its messages dealing with simplicity, peace and social justice. By the way, the book is often very funny too.