Joan Didion: The White Album 

First published in 1979, “The White Album “is a journalistic mosaic” “of American life in the late 1960s and throughout the 1970s. It includes, among other bizarre artifacts and personalities, reportage on the dark journeys and impulses of the Manson family, a visit to a Black Panther Party press conference, the story of John Paul Getty’s museum, a meditation on the romance of water in an arid landscape, and reflections on the swirl and confusion that marked this era. With commanding sureness of mood and language, Didion exposes the realities and dreams of an age of self-discovery whose spiritual center was California.

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20 Page Excerpt (PDF)

Further Writings: 

On Keeping a Notebook (PDF)
Goodbye to All That (From Slouching Towards Bethlehem (PDF)
On Why I Write (text)
Compilation of Texts Available Online (the Electric Typewriter)

Articles by Joan Didion (compiled by Open Culture

On Self Respect (Article)
The Women’s Movement (Article)
Eye on the Prize (Article)
The Teachings of Speaker Gingrich (Article)
Fixed Opinions, Or the Hinge of History (Article)
Politics in the New Normal America (Article)
The Case of Theresa Schiavo (Article)
The Deferential Spirit (Article)
California Notes (Article)

Additional Resources: 

Interview with Joan Didion, 1992 (video)
How Joan Didion the Writer Became Joan Didion the Legend (Vanity Fair)
The Elitist Allure of Joan Didion (The Atlantic)
The Radicalization of Joan Didion (The New Yorker)

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Joseph Campbell: Myths to Live by


What is a properly functioning mythology and what are its functions? Can we use myths to help relieve our modern anxiety, or do they help foster it? In Myths to Live by, Joseph Campbell explores the enduring power of the universal myths that influence our lives daily and examines the myth-making process from the primitive past to the immediate present, retuning always to the source from which all mythology springs: the creative imagination.Campbell stresses that the borders dividing the Earth have been shattered; that myths and religions have always followed the certain basic archetypes and are no longer exclusive to a single people, region, or religion. He shows how we must recognize their common denominators and allow this knowledge to be of use in fulfilling human potential everywhere.

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