The Source of Self-Regard: Selected Essays, Speeches, and Meditations (Vintage International) (Paperback)

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Staff Reviews

In mourning Toni Morrison, the world has rightfully renewed its celebration of her Nobel Prize-winning novels. But since early this year, with the publication of The Source of Self-Regard, her nonfiction has resurfaced as well, the tome a vast compilation of her essays, speeches, and meditations showing Morrison’s visionary facets, her bold breadth’s scope exploring the world that long feted her, so that world might realize its own native variety. Ranging from considerations of art not as apart from place, but culturally forming its societies, with especial reflection on literary visions; to lectern discussions on “black matters” creating not only her novels, but in making up her lifetime’s history lived; to poignant, compelling essays confronting what it has meant to be alive amid humanity’s ongoing crises of conscience, the collection not only reaffirms Morrison’s star on the literary canon, but explores the possibilities for living our differences toward the same illuminant end.

— Ray Marsocci


Here is Toni Morrison in her own words: a rich gathering of her most important essays and speeches, spanning four decades. 

These pages give us her searing prayer for the dead of 9/11, her Nobel lecture on the power of language, her searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., her heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. She looks deeply into the fault lines of culture and freedom: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” human rights, the artist in society, the Afro-American presence in American literature. And she turns her incisive critical eye to her own work (The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, Paradise) and that of others.

An essential collection from an essential writer, The Source of Self-Regard shines with the literary elegance, intellectual prowess, spiritual depth, and moral compass that have made Toni Morrison our most cherished and enduring voice.

“Profoundly insightful. . . . Speaks to today’s social and political moment as directly as this morning’s headlines.” —NPR

About the Author

Toni Morrison is the author of eleven novels, from The Bluest Eye (1970) to God Help the Child (2015). She received the National Book Critics Circle Award, the Pulitzer Prize, and in 1993 she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. She died in 2019.

Praise For…

“Morrison is more than the standard bearer of American literature. She is our greatest singer. And this book is perhaps her most important song.” —The New York Times

“Dazzlingly heady and deeply personal—a rumination on her literary career and artistic mission, which is to reveal and honor the aching beauty and unfolding drama of African American life.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“A piercing and visionary analyst of history, society, literature, language, and, always, race. . . . The book explodes into pure brilliance.” —The Boston Globe

“This book is a must.” —The Washington Post

“Profoundly insightful. . . . Speaks to today’s social and political moment as directly as this morning’s headlines.” —NPR

“Moving. . . . Magnificent. . . . It’s a large, rich, heterogeneous book, and hallelujah. . . . With this book, one is tempted to quote at length from her words: her acuity and moral clarity are dazzling, but so is her vision for how we might find our way towards a less unjust, less hateful future.” —The Guardian

“Her critical mind is as original as her literary vision. . . .  Morrison’s style is, for the most part, stately, not so much ornate as complex, not so much stentorian as insistent, authoritative, often fierce. . . . Morrison is not simply a narrative spellbinder. . . . She is also a thundering prophet for our time.” —Commonweal

The Source of Self-Regard is a must-read.” —Essence

“Altogether fantastic. . . . One of the deepest seers of our time.” —Brain Pickings 

“Give[s] insight into Morrison not just as a master of American folklore and the novel but also as a keen observer of humankind.” —Vogue

“A priceless record of an original thinker’s attempt to grapple with some of the hardest and most intractable questions of our time, of language, and of the human condition. . . . Toni Morrison’s collection of nonfiction makes a striking contribution to American letters and to an understanding of her own rich and complicated fiction.” —Christian Century

“Utterly timely. . . . The Nobel laureate and author of Beloved is fearless and insightful in essays on race, literature, love and more. . . . The Source of Self-Regard moves with courage and assurance.” —Tampa Bay Times

“Lucid, stunning . . . offers not just a glimpse at a master novelist’s and intellectual’s inner workings, but lays bare the mantle which those of us who write might pick up. . . . With this book, the Queen of American Letters has again blessed us with a work that is profound, soaring, intimate, and gives us permission to become the source of our self-regard.” —Bitch

“Morrison has proved herself to be both gift and necessity to our cultural consciousness. . . . [She is] one of our most incisive cultural critics.” —The Root

“This staggeringly brilliant collection of nonfiction pieces on the creative process, race, and the role of the artist in society takes our breath away.” —Shondaland

Product Details
ISBN: 9780525562795
ISBN-10: 0525562796
Publisher: Vintage
Publication Date: January 14th, 2020
Pages: 368
Series: Vintage International
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