The Dancing Mind

The Dancing Mind

Speech Upon Acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on the Sixth of November, Nineteen Hundred and Ninety-six

Book - 1996
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On the occasion of her acceptance of the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters on the sixth of November, 1996, Nobel laureate Toni Morrison speaks with brevity and passion to the pleasures, the difficulties, the necessities, of the reading/writing life in our time.
Publisher: New York, NY : Alfred A. Knopf, 1996
Edition: First edition
ISBN: 9780375400322
Branch Call Number: 814.54 MORRISO 1996
Characteristics: 17 pages ; 19 cm


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RogerDeBlanck Jan 31, 2018

In this speech published in a slender book form, Morrison examines how the peace gained from the reading/writing world is in peril. She describes our world as a “busied-up, education-as-horse-race, trophy-driven culture” that inherently threatens the mind’s natural ability to engage in precious, self-fulfilling solitude. In many restrictive countries around the world, Morrison also explains, that under equal peril is the liberty to create and share “unpoliced narrative.” She provides an anecdote of a woman living under a suppressive and murderous regime, which has placed clamps on creative minds in efforts to halt the exchange of knowledge. For Morrison, an open mind is one that “dances” with another through the process of reading. And we, as citizens of the world, must secure and practice “the peace of the dancing mind” or else we will be left with a world stripped of natural freedom. As she does so splendidly with the prose in her novels , Morrison’s command of ideas and language to deliver a powerful message is evident in this short speech.


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