Seducing the Demon
Writing for My LifeBook - 2006
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 Demonis 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 Demonis an invaluable glimpse into one of the most provocative minds of our time.
Publisher: New York : Jeremy P. Tarcher/Penguin, c2006
Characteristics: 279 p. : ill