Book Self: The Reader as Writer and the Writer as Critic
C. K. Stead
For more than 40 years, C. K. Stead has been New Zealand’s leading literary and cultural critic. Whether writing about Christianity or a trip to Croatia, he always brings a clear personal point of view, a strong analytical bent, and a witty pen to his work.
In this latest collection of critical writing Book Self, a sequel to his successful books Kin of Place, Answering to the Language and The Writer at Work, Stead takes the reader on a personal journey, from his earliest discovery of poetry as a young man to his experiences on the literary trail over the last few years. And he takes us on a trip through literary history, from Katherine Mansfield and T. S. Eliot to Michael King and Elizabeth Knox.
For the first time, Stead includes in this book a series of journal extracts that allow readers closer to the mind of the writer. ‘Here the ego is exposed-not quite naked, but now and then with its shirt off,’ he writes.
In Book Self we see a great New Zealand critic at work – a writer with strong personal views about other writers and a deep commitment to the role of role of criticism in literary life.
More about C. K. Stead
. . . in Book Self, Stead approaches the matter of self head-on and defies his critics with sharp, clear, rational argument, putting their vague murmurs to shame. It is the story of – love it or hate it – a remarkably interesting New Zealand mind. – Nelson Wattie, NZ Listener