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Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing [Kindle Edition]

Roger Rosenblatt

Kindle-Preis: EUR 8,81 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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“Less a how-to book than a measured reflection on teaching, [Unless It Moves the Human Heart] nonetheless offers aspiring writers many concrete suggestions...And the oft-invoked words of other authors should resonate with readers and writers alike.” (Publishers Weekly)

“With this slim volume, Rosenblatt offers his take on the challenges and responsibilities facing would-be writers...The informal and succinct format makes [Unless It Moves the Human Heart] a fast read but not a simple artful take on the writing life.” (Library Journal)

“Roger Rosenblatt is the teacher you always wished you had... Adept and inventive, Rosenblatt encourages his students to write with moderation but think with grandiosity…Having skillfully addressed matters of style, he ends by eloquently approaching the spirit.” (Boston Globe)

“Unless It Moves the Human Heart is right up there with Natalie Goldberg’s “Writing Down the Bones,” although less Zen, and Anne Lamott’s “Bird by Bird,” although less confessional... The book is filled with humor and practical advice…” (Washington Post)

“There is much to love and ponder within these passionate pages.” (People)


Multiple award-winner Roger Rosenblatt has received glowing critical acclaim for his exceptional literary works—from the hilarious novels Lapham Rising and Beet to his poignant, heartbreaking, ultimately inspiring memoir Making Toast. With Unless It Moves the Human Heart, the revered novelist, essayist, playwright, and respected writing teacher offers a guidebook for aspiring authors, a memoir, and an impassioned argument for the necessity of writing in our world. In the tradition of Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, Rosenblatt’s Unless It Moves the Human Heart provides practical insights and advice on the craft, exquisitely presented by one of contemporary literature’s living treasures.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 518 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 176 Seiten
  • Verlag: HarperCollins e-books (4. Januar 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Nicht aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #1.223.318 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 3.7 von 5 Sternen  26 Rezensionen
59 von 63 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Practicing What He Preaches 25. Januar 2011
Von M. Pieper - Veröffentlicht auf
I've reached the point in my writing career where I sometimes have the opportunity to mentor newer writers. I don't teach in a university or any formal setting beyond writers' conferences. Still, I write, and I teach about it. Those factors combined with my admiration for Rosenblatt's work made me want to read this book.

Award- winning essayist, novelist, and playwright Rosenblatt has effectively lived the antithesis to an old saying. In his case, Those who can, teach. He writes, and writes well. And he also teaches writing --as he has for more than forty years.

In UNLESS IT MOVES THE HUMAN HEART, Rosenblatt takes a fresh approach to writing about writing: He presents his advice in story form. He tells the story of an imaginary (or, more accurately, composite) university writing class and allows readers to experience his students' interaction with their professor and his material.

This presentation adds layers of meaning and allows the author to present both good and bad examples without hitting readers over the head. The misunderstandings, trials, and triumphs that class members endure will most likely happen to readers who write. And the character flaws that mark and measure their writing will--at least by the end of the book--seem more familiar than otherwise.

Trite device? Thinly veiled vehicle for the communication of truth? Perhaps. But I found myself turning the pages in search of both students' questions and professor's wisdom. I read. I learned. And lines like "There's no purpose to writing unless you believe in significant things--right over wrong, good over evil" and "Voice is the knowledge of what you want to say" made me think--and moved me to improve my craft.

Read the book and inhale the sweet fragrance of story. Reread as you savor each morsel of truth.
53 von 59 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
3.0 von 5 Sternen Something for Teachers, Something for Writers 30. Januar 2011
Von Ken C. - Veröffentlicht auf
TIME essayist Roger Rosenblatt, who also teaches writing at Stony Brook University on eastern Long Island, uses his experiences in the classroom of that school to shed light on writing and how it is taught. A teacher who writes myself (though not as well or as successfully as Rosenblatt), I picked the book up figuring I would be the perfect audience. In fact, I was. So what about you?

Right out of the gate, Rosenblatt admits that the reconstruction of conversations in his writing class cannot be considered verbatim or even totally accurate. Instead he says it is "fiction, top to bottom." Thus we have an idealized class with a wide array of "characters" from various backgrounds and with various strengths. This allows the teacher, Mr. Rosenblatt, to assume most every role a writing teacher might expect to play: cheerleader, adviser, questioner, philosopher, critic, and so forth. It also allows for much humor. That is, the would-be writers in class are a witty bunch as written by Rosenblatt. In that sense, the book is exciting, somewhat like the heady experiences of your own undergraduate years when fellow students might earnestly debate the fiction of Steinbeck, the essays of Bacon, or the poetry of Eliot.

The arc of the book follows the structure of Rosenblatt's course, called "Writing Everything": short stories first, followed by personal essays, with poetry last. As a teacher, I noted such fine advice as this: "If you find things you like in a student's work and you celebrate them, then the things you don't like -- the really awful parts -- will seem anomalous mistakes uncharacteristic of the writer, ones they can correct. The students will side with you against their own weaknesses. If, on the other hand, they begin to think they can't do anything right, they will get worse and worse." In another flourish, he states "...voice is merely the latest cliché to signify good writing. Its predecessor was 'authority.'"

I think teachers and writers alike can find something to glean from this short outing (155 pp.). The story and essay parts were stronger because the focus seemed more on Rosenblatt's thoughts and words, as given through the conceit of "actual dialogue" between his students and himself. For instance, he wisely advises his students to use the strategy of anticipation, not surprise, in story writing. Even O.Henry, who made surprise endings his bread and butter, only truly succeeded artistically with a few stories, such as "The Gift of the Magi."

The poetry section, alas, was a bit weaker. Clearly Rosenblatt is not the voice of experience here (he even admits that modern poetry is not to his liking), and so he is forced to overwrite the student dialogue in this chapter. The same thing happens in a chapter about writers' first reading experiences -- it simply retells stories of the students' earliest reading experiences (brace yourself for titles like MY FRIEND FLICKA and LASSIE) and tends to go on and on with little bang for the buck. I would have preferred more of Roger Rosenblatt the master teacher, more of his ideas for the classroom, and less of the students' badinage. Rosenblatt does share a few practical ideas, however, such as making students write about prompts he can recreate in the classroom like slamming a door (write about your associations with that act and sound) and singing "Happy Birthday" (write about your associations with that ubiquitous and ever-recurring song).

So do not be overly distracted by the star rating. Taking my cue from Rosenblatt himself, I prefer to stress all the good things this book HAS rather than all the wonderful things it COULD HAVE HAD. So what if I hoped for more of the master and less of his disciples? It's Rosenblatt's book, not mine, and the fact that I've spent this much time writing about it shows how important I think it is for readers to get it and judge for themselves. The hidden "professional student" and yearning "ultimate teacher" in you might just eat it up!
35 von 41 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen It will move your human heart 27. Januar 2011
Von Anjelica Whitehorne - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I took a class with Roger as an undergrad. I consider myself to be one of a very fortunate few who were able to do this. I look forward to continuing to work with Roger. He didn't talk about what he was writing often, but when he did, we always approached it like we were being given a very special treat that required a great reverence. He didn't talk about this book, though. I found out about it when he published the last part: a letter to his ungrateful students in the New Yorker. This book does something which is absolutely incredible: it takes you behind the person who wrote for TIME magazine and into the classroom to learn from him. I immediately pre-ordered this book and once it arrived, I found myself stealing moments to read more and more of his incredible insights and solutions. If you are looking for a book about the craft of writing, this book will not disappoint. If you are looking for a touching story about the behind the scenes aspect of the writing life, this book is also for you. The book is short and accessible, which is not to say that it does not say much. This book is a combination of a compelling narrative and a crash course in what Roger has learned as a writing professor and writer. This book would make a great substitute for those who cannot go to Southampton's writing conferences, as well as a great book for those who are considering pursuing the writer's life or who are considering Southampton's MFA in writing.
4 von 4 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Moved this Human Heart 4. Juli 2011
Von Heather Marsten - Veröffentlicht auf
Unless It Moves the Human Heart: The Craft and Art of Writing

Roger Rosenblatt's memoir about his Writing Everything class moved and encouraged me through the dialogue of teacher and students. His socratic method of teaching seemed to draw his students to greater depths in their writing. Interspersed with humorous dialogue were useful pearls of wisdom like: "If you have the goods, there's no need to dress them up. Your reader will do that for you." (p88) and "The first task of a writer is to make the reader see." (p109).

Particularly helpful were the dialogues between teacher and students about the work submitted by the students and the works of other authors. His descriptions and insights allowed me to see how to add depth to my writing. Hopefully, writing instructors will pay attention to the way Rosenblatt encouraged his students through humor, honest critical suggestions, and words of encouragement. He seemed to find a way to point out the good in their writings as well as the areas that need improvement.

I found it hard to put the book down, but forced myself to savor the writing so I didn't miss the nuggets of writing wisdom hidden throughout.
7 von 9 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen uninspiring 5. Mai 2011
Von Meg Sumner - Veröffentlicht auf
Roger Rosenblatt is a huge name in the world of writing. He's written magazine columns, plays, essays, and books and is a master of language. I've always enjoyed his articles in Time-he's a favorite of mine. In this book he describes a semester of teaching several students to write, by having them experiment with different forms of fiction and poetry. In an interview for his book, he describes the concepts he wanted to bring to the classroom to inspire his students:

"In one instance, I closed the door and the sound of the closing door would be another sensory stimulus. Once I did it, then I saw that they launched into their work with an entirely different vocabulary and an entirely different zest and a feeling of themselves. Then I began to think, there are other things one can really do to teach one to write in a more sophisticated way. And I started to pay attention to such things. I started paying attention to [things like] the power of the noun, to using anticipation over surprise, imagination over invention, things like this that are not exactly nuts and bolts of writing but they are related and they work in the service of a larger goal."

------------CSMonitor 2/6/2011

Being excited to read these slim guidebook, I was hoping to find ways to improve my own writing with useful advice. I've already learned that I need to be more succinct and edit more carefully. I appreciate what his purpose is, to help writers find humanity in their writing and go beyond the easiest cliches and visual images. I'm sure the actual students that he taught enjoyed the class (I know I would have loved taking it), but reading about it second-hand, almost as if eavesdropping on the class, is incredibly disappointing.

I'm not sure if it's because the dialogue (which must have been recorded for him to have so much detail?) sounds stilted or because the students sound artificial, but it just doesn't feel real. Many times he'll ask a question of the class as a way to open a conversation, but often his advice came off as contrary to what he just stated. It's almost as if it would have been simpler to say "there are no hard and fast rules to writing", because that's the message the book gives. While the involved conversations and arguments in the classroom show intelligent students with a challenging teacher, hearing his interpretation of them and their work is annoying.

I'm not sure who would most enjoy the book. Perhaps for someone looking for motivation to write more experimentally, it would be useful. But for those of us still working on the basics, it wasn't that helpful. I know, I know....I'm setting myself up by saying that about such an esteemed writer. It pretty much guarantees that this post will be full of typos and bad grammar. In any case, for a better experience, his book Making Toast is far more enjoyable and insightful.
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