Toni Morrison Champions the Arts in “The Source of Self-Regard”

The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison in white text on a pink background

The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations by Toni Morrison (Photo credit: Random House)

Toni Morrison’s new collection, The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches and Meditations, brings together the Nobel Prize-winner’s essays and speeches from the past four decades. The book’s subjects include politics, James Baldwin, and Beowulf, but Morrison is most stirring when reflecting on her writing process and the vitality of the arts. As Morrison points out, “How bleak, unlivable, insufferable existence becomes when we are deprived of artwork.” Let these quotes about writers and creators inspire you.

Art invites us to take the journey beyond price, beyond costs into bearing witness to the world as it is and as it should be. Art invites us to know beauty and to solicit it from even the most tragic of circumstances. Art reminds us that we belong here.
If writing is thinking and discovery and selection and order and meaning, it is also awe and reverence and mystery and magic.
What I am determined to do is to take what is articulated as the elusive future and domesticate it; to concretize what is, outside of science fiction, rendered in political language and thought as permanently unrealizable dream.
Dream the world as it ought to be.

 

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