Seducing the Demon: Writing for My Life

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Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 279 pages
Erica Jong began this book as a guide for aspiring writers. It was to be a book full of practical advice, inspiring examples, and sage wisdom ("Dare to dream," for instance). But she quickly realized that writing such a book would be dishonest, a way to veil the difficult nature of the writer's life with platitudes and encouragement. A demon out of an Isaac Singer story whispered in Jong's ear: "Tell the truth!" She knew she had no choice but to obey.

Seducing the Demon is the sublime and salacious story of one writer's long and successful career as a poet, novelist, and feminist provocateur. Throughout, Jong is refreshingly direct-whether writing sex scenes, evoking the lure of alcohol and grass in the search for ecstasy, or conforming to the rigid narrative of AA. She tells us candidly about how she always lusted after Bill Clinton, and how she discovered the joys of tantric sex. Equally candid about the privileges of fame and the slaps of notoriety, Jong is above all loyal to the importance of telling the truth in an age of lies.

Jong tells us she writes "to get my life down on paper so it can never be extinguished," and "to keep from going mad." She speaks of the power of sexual desire to "transmute words into flesh," and reveals how a range of writers, from Kafka and Nabokov to Henry Miller and Pablo Neruda, influenced and guided her. Delivering trenchant observations on great writers, she compares the ethereal Virginia Woolf to the earthy James Joyce: "She is Ariel to James Joyce's Caliban." An uncanny combination of bookish and bawdy, literary and libidinous, Seducing the Demon is an invaluable glimpse into one of the most provocative minds of our time.

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User Review  - dbsovereign - LibraryThing

Fun meditation on writing and life. When we write about our lives we change how we remember them and the people in our lives. Plus, insightful thoughts on fame and mingling with the famous. Read full review

SEDUCING THE DEMON: Writing for My Life

User Review  - Kirkus

A zesty, savvy, freewheeling memoir of the writing life, portions of which first appeared in the New York Times Book Review and The Writer magazine. Readers expecting gutsy writing from the author of ... Read full review

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About the author (2006)

Erica Jong is the author of nineteen books of poetry, fiction, and memoir, including Fear of Flying, which has more than 18 million copies in print worldwide. Her most recent essays have appeared in The New York Times Book Review, and she is a frequent guest on television talk shows. Currently working on a novel featuring Isadora Wing-the heroine of Fear of Flying-as a woman of a certain age, Erica and her lawyer husband live in New York City and Connecticut. Her daughter, Molly Jong-Fast, is also an author.

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