The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art

The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art

by Joyce Carol Oates

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

A tribute to the brilliant craftsmanship of one of our most distinguished writers, providing valuable insight into her inspiration and her method

Joyce Carol Oates is widely regarded as one of America's greatest contemporary literary figures. Having written in a number of genres — prose, poetry, personal and critical essays, as well as plays — she is an artist ideally suited to answer essential questions about what makes a story striking, a novel come alive, a writer an artist as well as a craftsman.

In The Faith of a Writer, Oates discusses the subjects most important to the narrative craft, touching on topics such as inspiration, memory, self-criticism, and "the unique power of the unconscious." On a more personal note, she speaks of childhood inspirations, offers advice to young writers, and discusses the wildly varying states of mind of a writer at work. Oates also pays homage to those she calls her "significant predecessors" and discusses the importance of reading in the life of a writer.

Oates claims, "Inspiration and energy and even genius are rarely enough to make 'art': for prose fiction is also a craft, and craft must be learned, whether by accident or design." In fourteen succinct chapters, The Faith of a Writer provides valuable lessons on how language, ideas, and experience are assembled to create art.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780060565541
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 09/14/2004
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 752,467
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.60(d)

About the Author

Joyce Carol Oates is a recipient of the National Medal of Humanities, the National Book Critics Circle Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award, the National Book Award, and the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, and has been several times nominated for the Pulitzer Prize. She has written some of the most enduring fiction of our time, including the national bestsellers We Were the Mulvaneys, Blonde, which was nominated for the National Book Award, and the New York Times bestseller The Falls, which won the 2005 Prix Femina. Her most recent novel is A Book of American Martyrs. She is the Roger S. Berlind Distinguished Professor of the Humanities at Princeton University and has been a member of the American Academy of Arts and Letters since 1978.

Hometown:

Princeton, New Jersey

Date of Birth:

June 16, 1938

Place of Birth:

Lockport, New York

Education:

B.A., Syracuse University, 1960; M.A., University of Wisconsin, 1961

Customer Reviews

The Faith of a Writer: Life, Craft, Art 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
kcarter25 More than 1 year ago
I thought this memoir of Joyce Carol Oates life and career was just a wonderful piece of literature. The twelve essays were given in such a way that I could easy understand. The essays explore Ms. Oates' driving force in her career as a writer. These essays are very educational for aspiring authors and even for those folks like me that just want to learn about a great writer such as Ms. Oates. There were detail discussion by the author on her daily life; her creative condemnation sessions and many others. Overall, I thought the book was fantastic and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book provides a wonderfully fresh perspective on the craft and art of writing and is a great read for all writers or aspiring writers. This book is not about the technical aspects of writing or how to achieve specific publication goals.
kerrycarter76 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Educational, but still a wonderful read.I thought this memoir of Joyce Carol Oates life and career was just a wonderful piece of literature. The twelve essays were given in such a way that I could easy understand. The essays explore Ms. Oates' driving force in her career as a writer. These essays are very educational for aspiring authors and even for those folks like me that just want to learn about a great writer such as Ms. Oates. There were detail discussion by the author on her daily life; her creative condemnation sessions and many others.Overall, I thought the book was fantastic and wouldn't hesitate to recommend it to my friends.
mrstreme on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Joyce Carol Oates explored the craft of writing in her collection of essays, The Faith of a Writer. I was expecting an autobiographical passage through JCO¿s evolution as a writer, but that was not quite what she delivered in this slim book. Instead, she talked about how other writers ¿ namely Emily Dickinson, Ernest Hemingway, Herman Melville and a host of others ¿ became great writers.Several themes emerged from JCO¿s essays. First, writers are their own worst critics but have high opinions of their writing genius. Secondly, many of a writers¿ early works were raw, hard to read and commercially unsuccessful, but without these first attempts, the greater works would not have existed. Finally, writers live in an alternate universe: always thinking about their stories, how to revise them and how to advance the story or the characters. This usually resulted in insomnia, social isolation and blank stares.Probably, these essays are examined in great depth by college students whose professors want to explain the psyche of a writer. If you are looking for a book about the personal writing process, this is not the book for you. I would recommend Stephen King¿s On Writing for that type of book. The Faith of a Writer is better suited for readers who love writers ¿ the famous ones ¿ and want a better understanding on how they perfected their craft.
Caffeinated on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
More Faith than Craft, though it's always inspiring to hear from a writer who's so prolific. Writing is consistently good, though not impressive. (3 1/2)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago