Telling times : writing and living, 1954-2008

by Gordimer, Nadine.

Format: Print Book 2010
Availability: Available at 1 Library 1 of 1 copy
Available (1)
Location Collection Call #
CLP - Main Library Second Floor - Non-fiction PR9369.3.G6 T46 2010
Location  CLP - Main Library
Collection  Second Floor - Non-fiction
Call Number  PR9369.3.G6 T46 2010
Never before has Gordimer, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1991, published such a comprehensive collection of her nonfiction. Telling Times represents the full span of her works in that field--from the twilight of white rule in South Africa to the fight to overthrow the apartheid regime, and most recently, her role over the past seven years in confronting the contemporary phenomena of violence and the dangers of HIV.

The range of this book is staggering, and the work in totality celebrates the lively perseverance of the life-loving individual in the face of political tumult, then the onslaught of a globalized world. The abiding passionate spirit that informs "A South African Childhood," a youthful autobiographical piece published in The New Yorker in 1954, can be found in each of the book's ninety-one pieces that span a period of fifty-five years.

Returning to a lifetime of nonfiction work has become an extraordinary experience for Gordimer. She takes from one of her revered great writers, Albert Camus, the conviction that the writer is a "responsible human being" attuned not alone to dedication to the creation of fiction but to the political vortex that inevitably encompasses twentieth- and twenty-first-century life. Born in 1923, Gordimer, who as a child was ambitious to become a ballet dancer, was recognized at fifteen as a writing prodigy. Her sensibility was as much shaped by wide reading as it was to eye-opening sight, passing on her way to school the grim labor compounds where black gold miners lived. These twin decisives--literature and politics--infuse the book, which includes historic accounts of the political atmosphere, firsthand, after the Sharpeville Massacre of 1960 and the Soweto uprising of 1976, as well as incisive close-up portraits of Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu, among others. Gordimer revisits the eternally relevant legacies of Tolstoy, Proust, and Flaubert, and engages vigorously with contemporaries like Susan Sontag, Octavio Paz, and Edward Said. But some of her most sensuous writing comes in her travelogues, where the politics of Africa blend seamlessly with its awe-inspiring nature--including spectacular recollections of childhood holidays beside South Africa's coast of the Indian Ocean and a riveting account of her journey the length of the Congo River in the wake of Conrad.

Gordimer's body of work is an extraordinary vision of the world that harks back to the sensibilities--political, moral, and social--of Dickens and Tolstoy, but with a decidedly vivid contemporary consciousness. Telling Times becomes both a literary exploration and extraordinary document of social and political history in our times.

The 1950s: A South Afrrican childhood: allusions in a landscape (1954)
Hassan in America (1955)
Egypt revisited (1959)
Chief Luthuli (1959)
Apartheid (1959). The 1960s: The Congo (1961)
Party of one (1963)
A bolter and the invincible summer (1963)
Censored, banned, gagged (1963)
Great problems in the street (1963)
Notes of an expropriator (1964)
Taking into account: Simone de Beauvoir's Force of circumstance (1966)
One man living through it (1966)
Why did Bram Fischer choose jail? (1966)
The short story in South Africa (1968)
Madagascar (1969). The 1970s: Merci Dieu, it changes: Accra and Abidjan (1971)
Pack up, black man (1971)
Unchaining poets (1972)
The new black poets (1973)
A writer's freedom (1976)
English-language literature and politics in South Africa (1976)
Letter from Soweto (1976)
What being a South African means to me: address at the University of Cape Town (1977)
Transkei: a vision of two blood-red suns (1978)
Relevance and commitment (1979)
Pula!: Botswana (1979). The 1980s: The prison-house of colonialism: Ruth First's and Ann Scott's Olive Schreiner (1980)
Letter from the 153rd state (1980)
The South African censor: no change (1981)
Unconfessed history: Alan Paton's Ah, but your land is beautiful (1982)
Mysterious incest: Patrick White's Flaws in the grass: a self-portrait (1982)
The child is the man: Wole Soyinka's AkeĢ: the years of childhood (1982)
Living in the interregnum (1983)
The idea of gardening: J.M. Coetzee's The life and times of Michael K (1984)
New notes from underground: Breyten Breytenbach's Mouroir (1984)
The essential gesture (1985)
Letter from Johannesburg (1985)
Huddleston: a sign (1988)
The gap between the writer and the reader (1989)
the final solution: the case of Salman Rushdie (1989)
The African pot (1989). The 1990s: A writer's vital gift to a free society: The Satanic verses (1990)
Freedom struggles out of the chrysalis (1990)
Sorting the images from the man: Nelson Mandela (1990)
Censorship and its aftermath (1990)
Joseph Roth: labyrinth of empire and exile (1991)
Turning the page: African writers on the threshold of the twenty-first century (1992)
Beyond myth: Mandela's mettle (1993)
Rising to the ballot (1994)
Letter from South Africa (1995)
Cannes epilogue (1995)
Remembering Barney Simon (1995)
Our century (1995)
The status of the writer in the world today: Which world? Whose world? (1997)
The poor are always with us: the eradication of poverty (1997)
From a correspondence with Kenzaburo Oe (1998)
Octavio Paz: poet-archer (1999)
When art meets politics (1999)
A letter to future generations (1999)
Five years into freedom: my new South African identity (1999)
Hemingway's expatriates: a way of looking at the world (1999). The 2000s: Personal Proust (2000)
Africa's plague, and everyone's (2000)
What news on the Rialto? (2001)
The dwelling place of words (2001)
The entitlement approach (2001)
The ballad of the Fifth Avenue Hotel (2001)
Chinua Achebe and Things fall apart (2002)
Joseph Conrad and Almayer's folly (2002)
A coincidence of wills? (2003)
past or present? (2003)
Fear eats the soul (2003)
Living with a writer (2003)
Edward Said (2003)
With them you never know: Albert Memmi (2003)
William Plomer and Turbott Wolfe (2003)
Atlantis (2003)
Thirst (2003)
Questions journalists don't ask (2003)
"To you I can": Gustave Flaubert's November (2004)
Leo Tolstoy and The death of Ivan Ilyich (2005)
Susan Sontag (2005)
Home truths from the past: Machiavelli or Erasmus? (2005)
Witness: the inward testimony (2006)
Desmond Tutu as I know him (2006)
Lust and death: Philip Roth's Everyman (2006) Faith, reason and war (2006)
Naguib Mahfouz's Three novels of ancient Egypt (2007)
Experiencing two absolutes (2008)
The lion in literature (2006).

Published Reviews
Booklist Review: "In this landmark collection of Nobel laureate Gordimer's assured and historic nonfiction--nearly 100 essays spanning 60 years the clarity of her voice and the deep impress of her observations make for high-voltage reading. The daughter of Jewish European immigrants to South Africa, Gordimer, born in 1923, has been a keen and candid, brilliant and artistic witness to her country's struggle toward racial equality and justice. She writes beautifully of common humanity ; chronicles the sacrifices of Nelson Mandela, Desmond Tutu, and scores of less-heralded heroes; and explores with great insight and passion the crucial symbiosis between politics and literature. As one of many banned authors, she condemns censorship and declares, All that a writer can do, as a writer, is to go on writing the truth as he sees it. Which she does in Letter from Soweto, a protest against the violent crushing of the 1976 black-student uprising; Living in the Interregnum, a clarion 1982 inquiry into the role of whites opposed to apartheid; the vivid and frank Five Years into Freedom, written in 1999; and into the 2000s, when Gordimer writes of AIDS, the water crisis, and, as always, the unkillable word. Gordimer's sublimely literary nonfiction of conscience is at once personal and magisterial.--Seaman, Donna Copyright 2010 Booklist"
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Publisher's Weekly Review: "Politics and literature intersect in this comprehensive-sometimes too comprehensive-collection of nonfiction writings by the Nobel Prize-winning South African novelist and antiapartheid activist. Covering five decades, these short pieces run the gamut: autobiographical sketches; chiaroscuroed travelogues that wander from the Congo to Cairo; literary essays on novelists from Tolstoy to Chinua Achebe and Philip Roth; profiles of Nelson Mandela and Archbishop Desmond Tutu; op-eds on issues like AIDS and water shortages; the odd dispatch from the Cannes film festival and a retrospective on the 20th century. At the vital core of the volume are Gordimer's gripping reports from the battle against apartheid, in which she dissects the hypocrisy and brutality of South African racism and ponders her responsibility as a white liberal "minority within the minority." The more polished of these pieces brim with subtle insights and evocative landscapes and characterizations. Others, culled from after-dinner speeches, letters, and other odds and ends, have a tossed-off feel; the tome is large enough to require and reward judicious browsing. At its best, Gordimer's writing is both consummately artful and deeply engaged; she shows us that "the truth isn't always beauty, but the hunger for it is." (June) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved"
(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Additional Information
Subjects Gordimer, Nadine.
Women authors, South African -- 20th century -- Biography.
Publisher New York :W.W. Norton & Co.,2010
Edition 1st American ed.
Language English
Notes The first comprehensive collection of Gordimer's nonfiction.
Description 742 pages ; 25 cm
Bibliography Notes Includes bibliographical references.
ISBN 9780393066289 (hardcover)
0393066282 (hardcover)
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