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Why Write?

A Master Class on the Art of Writing and Why it Matters

Mark Edmundson

Bloomsbury USA

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ISBN10: 1632863057
ISBN13: 9781632863058


288 Pages



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Why write?

Why write when it sometimes feels that so few people really read—read as if their lives might be changed by what they’re reading? Why write, when the world wants to be informed, not enlightened; to be entertained, not inspired? Writing is backbreaking, mindbreaking, lonely work. So why?

Because writing, as celebrated professor Mark Edmundson explains, is one of the greatest human goods. Real writing can do what critic R. P. Blackmur said it could: add to the stock of available reality. Writing teaches us to think; it can bring our minds to birth. And once we’re at home with words, there are few more pleasurable human activities than writing. Because this is something he believes everyone ought to know, Edmundson offers us Why Write?, essential reading—both practical and inspiring—for anyone who yearns to be a writer, anyone who simply needs to know how to get an idea across, and anyone in between—in short, everyone.


Praise for Why Write?

"[An] in-depth analysis of the positivity of literary pursuits . . . This informative and entertaining read will delight those interested in the writing process."—Library Journal

"[WHY WRITE?] is filled with anecdotes about canonical writers, along with personal stories from the author’s writing and teaching career. Edmundson is adept at finding quotes and telling tales from the English romantic poets, Greek philosophers, and American transcendentalists."—Publishers Weekly

"[Edmundson’s] especially good on the importance of a writer finding his/her voice and he offers plenty of encouragement. This book is very much a pep talk. The author is an optimistic, enthusiastic cheerleader on the sideline, encouraging us to sit down and try."—Kirkus Reviews

"Why Write? ponders why so many people try their hand at something that can be so time consuming and contain so many pitfalls, and Edmundson offers satisfying answers for readers and writers alike."—Shelf Awareness

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Mark Edmundson

Mark Edmundson teaches at the University of Virginia, where he is university professor. A prizewinning scholar, he is also the author of Why Teach?, Why Read?, Teacher, The Death of Sigmund Freud, and The Fine Wisdom and Perfect Teachings of the Kings of Rock and Roll. His writing has appeared in such publications as the New Republic, the New York Times Magazine, the Chronicle of Higher Education, the Nation, the American Scholar, Raritan, and Harper's. He lives in Batesville, Virginia.