Mortification: Writers’ Stories of their Public Shame by Robin Robertson

Humiliation is not, of course, unique to writers. However, the world of letters does seem to offer a near-perfect micro-climate for embarrassment and shame. There is something about the conjunction of high-mindedness and low income that is inherently comic; something about the very idea of deeply private thoughts - carefully worked and honed into art over the years - being presented to a public audience of dubious strangers, that strays perilously close to tragedy. These seventy contributions prove it is possible to reverse Auden's dictum: that art is born out of humiliation.

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