The Source of Self-Regard

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The Source of Self-Regard brims with the elegance, literary prowess, and moral gravitas that are Toni Morrison’s inimitable hallmarks. Its forty-four essays (all previously published) are divided into three parts: the first is introduced by a powerful prayer for the dead of 9/11, the second by a searching meditation on Martin Luther King Jr., and the last by a heart-wrenching eulogy for James Baldwin. In the writings and speeches collected here, Morrison takes on contested social issues: the foreigner, female empowerment, the press, money, “black matter(s),” and human rights. She illuminates enduring matters of culture: the role of the artist in society, goodness in the literary imagination, the Afro-American presence in American literature, and in her Nobel lecture, the power of language itself. And here too is piercing commentary on her own work (including The Bluest Eye, Sula, Tar Baby, Jazz, Beloved, and Paradise) and that of others, from painter Romare Bearden and author Toni Cade Bambara to theater director Peter Sellars. Fiercely intelligent, gorgeously written, humbling, and inspiring, The Source of Self-Regard is a luminous and essential addition to the Toni Morrison canon.