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Essays By Wallace Shawn,

  • Title: Essays
  • Author: Wallace Shawn
  • ISBN: 9781608460021
  • Page: 157
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Full of what you might call conversation starters tricky propositions about morality politics, privilege, runaway nationalist fantasies, collective guilt, and art as a force for change or not It s a treat to hear him speak his curious mind O MagazineIn these beautiful essays, Wallace Shawn takes us on a revelatory journey in which the personal and political beco Full of what you might call conversation starters tricky propositions about morality politics, privilege, runaway nationalist fantasies, collective guilt, and art as a force for change or not It s a treat to hear him speak his curious mind O MagazineIn these beautiful essays, Wallace Shawn takes us on a revelatory journey in which the personal and political become one.Whether writing about the genesis of his plays, such as Aunt Dan and Lemon discussing how the privileged world of arts and letters takes for granted the work of the unobtrusives, the people who serve our food and deliver our mail or describing his upbringing in the sheltered world of Manhattan s cultural elite, Shawn reveals a unique ability to step back from the appearance of things to explore their deeper social meanings He grasps contradictions, even when unpleasant, and challenges us to look, as he does, at our own behavior in a honest light He also finds the pathos in the political and personal challenges of everyday life.With a sharp wit, remarkable attention to detail, and the same acumen as a writer of prose as he is a playwright, Shawn invites us to look at the world with new eyes, the better to understand and change it.Praise for Wallace Shawn and Essays Lovely, hilarious and seriously thought provoking, I enjoyed it tremendously Toni Morrison Wallace Shawn writes in a style that is deceptively simple, profoundly thoughtful, fiercely honest His vocabulary is pungent, his wit delightful, his ideas provocative Howard Zinn, author, A People s History of the United States Wally Shawn s essays are both powerful and riveting How rare to encounter someone willing to question the assumptions of class and the disparity of wealth that grows wider every year in this country To have such a gentle and incisive soul willing to say what others may be afraid to is considerably refreshing Michael Moore, film maker Shawn s language, his unmistakable, original voice, felicitous, is unadorned, elegant, immediate, true He s also a brilliant interviewer, as everyone who s seen My Dinner With Andre which is just about everyone knows And, of course, he s very funny Tony Kushner, playwright, Angels in America Wallace Shawn is a bracing antidote to the op ed dreariness of political and artistic journalism in the West He takes you back to the days when intellectuals had the wit and concentration to formulate great questions and to make the reader want to answer them David Hare, playwrightWallace ShawnWallace Shawn is an Obie Award winning playwright and a noted stage and screen actor Star Trek, Gossip Girl, The Princess Bride, Toy Story His plays The Designated Mourner and Marie and Bruce have recently been produced as films He is co author of the movie My Dinner with Andre and author of the plays The Fever, The Designated Mourner, Aunt Dan and Lemon, and Grasses of a Thousand Colours.
    Essays Full of what you might call conversation starters tricky propositions about morality politics privilege runaway nationalist fantasies collective guilt and art as a force for change or not It s a t

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    1. Some of these essays are five star essays, and some of them seem like workshop exercises from a promising student Some are interesting purely from their perspective because they are the from the perspective of Wallace Shawn, in a kind of voyeuristic way I finished them all anyway because I find Wallace Shawn to be interesting politically to be in his way a champion of working class politics, albeit from a pampered liberally nested perch I m left to wonder how he operationalizes his politics bey [...]

    2. If all you know of Wallace Shawn is what I knew his unforgettable turn as the Sicilian villain Vizzini in The Princess Bride Inconceivable then I think you re in for something of a pleasant surprise Shawn is also an award winning playwright and a public speaker of note, and here he collects go figure essays, spanning several decades and a range of topics including politics, poetry and prurience And he doesn t mention Vizzini even once In fact, it is utterly wrong for me to imagine that Bush is v [...]

    3. I m rather disposed to like Wallace Shawn for a variety of reasons, not least of which being that I ve seen My Dinner with Andre perhaps three dozen times, and Vanya on 42nd Street two dozen Despite being famous for his work as the world s most immediately recognizable character actors such as the homunculus of Woody Allen s Manhattan , his own plays signal the depth of his intelligence and insight, and suggest an artistic center aligned with his stupendous collaborations with Andre Gregory Whe [...]

    4. I don t know how much I like Wallace Shawn but I kind of love him This collection, split in halves, covers Shawn s political and artistic essays, the division of which he elucidates in his introduction In both, his personality comes pouring out of every page He s equal parts angry and reverent, with a clear awareness of his upper middle class status and how it affects his thought Now, that s going to do one of a few things to you as the reader You might love that he s being honest and run with i [...]

    5. A quick read and engaging, Shawn s spunky, refreshing take on politics and the arts exactly mirrors the kind of pugnacious Vizzini character he played in Princess Bride As fresh a take as it is, it s also and strangely exactly what you might have expected given the little you know about the man s personality direct, inventive, and than a little self serving though with a wink.His interview with Chomsky is expectedly rewarding, and he offers harsh but eloquent in their crispness critiques of the [...]

    6. Chapter Six is best and has a very worthwhile interview with Noam Chomsky where Noam says, the Bible is probably the most genocidal book in the literary canon I mean, wipe out every Amalekite to the last man, woman and child that s supposed to be gentle and wonderful The opposition to Social Security is simple you must first drive the concept of caring for others out of your head Social Security is based on the idea that you care That s a dangerous sentiment You re supposed to just be out for yo [...]

    7. Wallace Shawn is probably best known for saying Inconceivable in The Princess Bride, but I prefer to remember him from the exquisite film My Dinner with Andre His father was William Shawn, editor of the New Yorker for many years This book contains an eclectic set of essays written over a 23 year span of time Many are political, and while I agree with his progressive points, he doesn t really propose actionable solutions other than to influence society positively with art, which is hardly a new o [...]

    8. So he s famous for theater, and I always thought I would admire him, having enjoyed what I read, and of course enjoying Malle s film of My Dinner With Andre Reading the first essay in this collection was a total turnoff for its trite obviousness reminiscent of the episode in Malcolm X s Autobiography where a white patron at the cotton club generously and patronizingly throws his arms around a black stranger s neck and declares you re just as good as I am Thanks for the validation I have to put t [...]

    9. It s a strange book in some ways the order in which the essays appear seems odd why divide all the aesthetic ones from the political ones why end with the one about writing about sex and many of the essays, I think, were a little stronger in their original versions But there s so much excellent thinking packed into this book that I d have no qualms about recommending it to anyone at all.

    10. I guess I m getting old, cuz this is the fifth five star review I ve handed out this year Fifth Out of five books Oh what a sap I am, in my advanced ageAnyway, it s INCONCEIVABLE that a fan of Wallace Shawn would dislike this book.Ahem.Now that THAT s out of the wayIt would be pretty easy to right this little volume off as a vanity project, or a dorky man s dorky little diary, or a bunch of forewords and rough drafts and hastily written pieces that anyone not named Wallace Shawn could ve never g [...]

    11. I got on a Wallace Shawn kick after reading Night Thoughts, and picked this up from the library Many of the essays take a similar left socialist perspective on society However, I didn t like it quite as much as NT To some extent, the content feels dated many of the essays focus on W Bush and the Iraq war The essays are divided into two sections, with those in the second section being about art than politics I wasn t particularly interested in his writing on art outside of how it shapes his poli [...]

    12. There s some navel gazing about privilege and power here that s kind of all the odd because Shawn is a socialist and contrasts his views to those of his parents and other liberals around him, so the first half of the book Reality kind of drags, but the book is worth it for the second half Dreams which contains an interview with Mark Strand about poetry and a thoughtful piece on how he got into writing plays Shawn s prose itself has a very distinctive style that might be off putting to some but [...]

    13. More accurate review would be closer to 4.5 stars Overall a very engaging read, noticed that the essays blend together pretty seamlessly even though many are written decades apart Didn t care for the Mark Strand interview and a few other essays.The Why I Call Myself A Socialist essay itself was worth the price of the entire book honestly, also the incredibly short chapter 4 An American publishes a magazine was a real highlight.

    14. It s been nice branching out this year from my usual reading types I saw that Wallace Shawn was a famous playwright and essayist and I sadly had only known him from his acting roles Some of these essays were fantastic, others were meh But I got some interesting thoughts out of reading all of them, and that made me want to read or see his plays So that s on the to read pile now.

    15. A group of essays that is generous to its readers Shawn s prose style very much resembles what I think of as his spoken voice warm yet inquisitive and sometimes skeptical The Morality essay from the mid 80s is the linchpin for the rest of the writing.

    16. Especially loved the Chomsky and Mark Stand interviews.Also, the essays regarding Iraq War were Nostradamic.

    17. I ve enjoyed Wallace Shawn s drama for some time, especially his knack for break down the fourth wall provocation, nuanced deconstruction of morality, and smart sharp humor Thus, I was excited to read this slim collection of essays, but was almost entirely disappointed by the end.The volume is split in half the first section concerns itself with politics and the relationship existential, ethical of the individual to collective action the second section collects some of Shawn s thoughts on aesthe [...]

    18. I had a very difficult time deciding on a rating Three stars or four For two days now I have considered both and finally just now flipped a coin heads three stars, tails four stars It came up heads.I think it deserves three stars because Shawn just repeats himself so much The book opens with a four star essay, but then he basically writes the same essay two times Yes, American affluence is sustained through economic subjugation of the poor nations Gotcha The individual cannot separate himself o [...]

    19. I m looking forward to hearing Mr Shawn speak tomorrow 3 16 2012 and will be bringing this book along as reference I enjoyed this book greatly, not because I agree with Shawn on a lot of issues, but because where we disagreed, I found his perspective and ideas to be thought provoking and challenging Many of the essays were penned in the early 2000 s, during the immediate months following 9 11 and during the escalation leading to the 2nd Iraq War I found many of his sentiments during that time re [...]

    20. This book is 2 3 political essays, 1 3 essays about art, but they re really all about Wallace Shawn Not in a solipsistic way, however, but in one that is probing, self critical, and introspective The political essays make it clear that he s someone who is a bit uncomfortable with his good fortune and place in the world bourgeois white American lifelong New Yorker , and he spends a lot of time considering what this means to him as an individual, how to live a moral life in light of the knowledge [...]

    21. Essays is a collection of Wallace Shawn s thoughts on politics and art The essays are about evenly divided between the two topics The politics are simplistic, and Shawn comes across as an idealistic armchair socialist than a well reasoned political thinker My motivation for picking up the book was because I enjoyed his essay Why I Call Myself a Socialist and was hoping that he would dive deeper into the reasoning behind his socialism, unfortunately this was not the case His humanism is admirabl [...]

    22. Wallace Shawn is, perhaps, the most unappreciated modern American writer of the post modern age Most people know his face, and voice, instantly from his work as an actor in Princess Bride or as Rex in Toy Story What is not as well known is that he is an intensely thoughtful playwright and philosopher This collection of essays was given to me by a dear friend, and I have loved opening the text at random and reading Shawn s thoughts on American Imperialism, Politics, and Consumerism Wallace s pers [...]

    23. An impulsive purchase after an impulsive decision to see him speak as part of the City Arts Lectures series The man is wonderful I really had no idea Tho perhaps I did have my suspicions Prior to seeing him speak I only knew him from a few movie appearances After seeing him on stage I knew I needed to have his ideas in writing This was a lovely collection of pieces gathered from various sources and from various years I was a fan of the first section he s able to write about politics and social [...]

    24. Very enjoyable read Anyone who has seen My Dinner With Andre will be delighted by the fact that Wallace Shawn writes exactly the way he apparently speaks or, at least, the way his character speaks in the movie He repeatedly uses certain words the essay titled Morality uses the word comfort about a hundred times , asks rhetorical questions But wait a minute Am I crazy now What am I saying also from the Morality essay and is generally erudite without ever sounding pretentious The book is split int [...]

    25. While the cover is a little precious, I enjoyed seeing life from the viewpoint of The Incontheivable Guy and the teacher from Clueless this is how most 90 s kids know this man His thoughts on socialism, pacifism, theatre, and the bourgeoisie life which he admits to being a willing participant of and also his interview with Noam Chomsky were all highlights for me He goes on a bit about Iraq, and if I d read this when I first got it in 09 I would have lapped that up, but then I might have focused [...]

    26. Yes I picked this up because I recognized the author as Vizzini from the Princess Bride He is also an voice actor and playwright This book in is two sections essays about art and those about social issues He includes personal reflection, some stories, a letter I enjoyed the writng very much, it was very readable It felt like part of a conversation with a thoughtful friend, and some of his observations made me think he would be an enjoyable dinner guest.I am still indifferent about essay collecti [...]

    27. A disappointing 3 and a half stars for me It went off like a train and after a dozen or so essays I was ready to give it a five but then I hit the second half of the book, which I found to be largely ineffectual and incoherent especially the meandering interview with Mark Strand.Wallace Shawn is a talented and funny writer and there are some gems in this book, but there are also enough clunkers to pull down the overall score Still want to read the rest of his plays though, The Fever was fantasti [...]

    28. The essays in this deceptively tiny book are subtle, profound, self deprecating, and beautiful Writing in a variety of contexts about some of the most deeply flawed aspects of human nature, Shawn demonstrates what it is to be morally engaged without the slightest hint of finger waggling, and with zero self exemption His wit and modesty eliminate any possibility of priggishness This is an exceptional book, and I loved it.

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