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Creationists Creationists

3.46  ·  Rating Details ·  113 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
E. L. Doctorow is acclaimed internationally for such novels as "Ragtime, Billy Bathgate, " and "The March." Now here are Doctorow's rich, revelatory essays on the nature of imaginative thought. In "Creationists," Doctorow considers creativity in its many forms: from the literary (Melville and Mark Twain) to the comic (Harpo Marx) to the cosmic (Genesis and Einstein). As he ...more
ebook, 192 pages
Published December 10th 2008 by Random House Trade (first published September 19th 2006)
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Charles Matthews
If you pick up this book expecting E.L. Doctorow to weigh in on “intelligent design” or other anti-Darwinian controversies you’ll be disappointed. It’s a book of essays mostly about literature: Poe, Melville, Twain, Malraux, Kleist, Kafka, et al. Doctorow calls it “a modest celebration of the creative act.”

Creationists is a whimsical title; Doctorow doesn’t have much in common with the creationists who use the Bible to make an end run around science. But he does give his collection a biblical s
May 23, 2014 Lars rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: essay-commentary
This book is a fun and stimulating rummage through a variety of storytellers - mostly 19th and 20th century Americans - as a collection of short essays emphasizing their contributions as well as their short-comings. Doctorow's is a shrewd, learned eye, and he is decisive and forceful in his pronouncements. While I respect the insight of his gray-haired eminence, he upset me in a few parts of this book with his tone and dismissiveness of certain elements of particular authors' work that I would d ...more
Daniel Chaikin
Aug 26, 2015 Daniel Chaikin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title is maybe just there to get your attention. It's not a religious diatribe. However, he does open with an essay on Genesis, namely the story problem in Genesis: What story could these authors come up that would explain their world? And he closes with an essay on the possibility of a nuclear holocaust - which fits with our modern version of Judgment Day. But despite these touches of religion in the book ends, all Doctorow claims he means by "creationists" are those who create.

The book doe
Aug 01, 2013 spoko rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction, essays
Doctorow's collection of essays--mostly on authors and their works, with a couple of notable exceptions--is a fine idea, but not very compellingly executed. In any individual essay, his tone might be described as lofty, or academic. But consistent as it is throughout the collection, it takes on a rather imperious, even arrogant cast. These are a series of judgemental (rather than critical) essays, most of them composed in the thoroughly presumptuous first-person plural. Do "we" really see these ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

The brevity of these essays doesn't prevent E. L. Doctorow (Ragtime; The March, ****1/2 Selection Nov/Dec 2005) from writing with strength and intensity, though it does occasionally make it hard to feel deeply engaged by the material. Doctorow treats his fellow authors with uniform respect, one of several ways that he differs from writers who focus more on literary criticism. His approach is frequently both analytic and personal as he discusses the ways each creation is assembled and explores hi

I really enjoyed this collection of essays about books and authors (and a few other topics). It helped that Doctorow's subject matter fit my interests pretty exactly -- he wrote about a few books (like Moby Dick) that are among my favorites, some others that I've been meaning to read or which I've now moved up on the to-read list (Arrowsmith, for example, and the Rhodes books about the making of the A-bomb and H-bomb), and some others which are not really favorites of mine but which I find inter ...more
Feb 10, 2014 C.interruptus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: literary
I could tell that if I'd taken out the hardcopy I'd have gotten through more than the first few chapters, but no, I took out the audiobook. Wow. Doctorow should not narrate his own work. A more soporific reading I have never heard. Dude's voice should be bottled and sold to insomniacs.
The Scrivener's Quill
This collection of essays provide insight into a variety of authors. They are interesting, not particularly inspiring, yet engaging. I enjoyed the pieces in Poe, Melville, and Twain.
Mar 26, 2014 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoy and admire Doctorow's writing and appreciated seeing what he chose to write about and where he saw meaning, or lack thereof. It was enough to skim and read just those texts of interest to me personally.
Oct 13, 2007 Bobby rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
I liked Doctorow's analysis and interpretations of various authors and figures. Even the books/authors I have not read, I still found his comments interesting and worthwhile. The reasons for only 3 stars: 1) I wish he would have provided more objective historical evidence to back up some of his claims, and, 2) His tone got a bit too intellectual and dry for me way too often. Having said that, his essay on Einstein and nuclear weapons was awesome and worth checking out the book for even if you do ...more
Al Bità
Oct 04, 2009 Al Bità rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This collections of essays on some 15 authors are presented as a literary man's musings on the nature of imaginative thought. While Doctorow's writing is clear and lucid, I found them a little too academic in approach for my taste; nor did I find the expression of his thoughts completely convincing. Most of these pieces were written to serve as introductions to the work of each author, and perhaps would best serve as such rather than taken out of context and placed together as here. Others might ...more
Insights on Twain, Stowe, and Poe.
Jun 17, 2012 Jay rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Wonderfully written analysis of creators, including famous authors, scientists, and, oddly, Harpo Marx. The final essay describes closing the circle, showing how humans have created the ability to become great destructionists with hydrogen bombs. I enjoyed the mix of discussions on authors the most, including Melville and Mark Twain. The audio, read by the author, is slow paced to match the thoughtfulness of the topics.
Aug 13, 2016 Holly rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio, 2011-reads
Although this was a perfect book for me to listen to, with relatively short essays read by Doctorow himself, I really wanted to dwell on some passages, so I may need to obtain a hard copy. Doctorow doesn't so much discuss the writing of Melville, Stowe, Sebald, etc., as describe the authors' worldviews. Especially enjoyed the concluding pieces on Einstein and the Bomb.
Pamela J
I wanted to be more impressed than I was with this collection of essays. Doctorow's reflections on Genesis, Moby Dick , Amerika , Tom Sawyer , and parallels between Malraux and Hemingway works pay homage to world writers, but cannot be called literary criticism. They are, as he explains, explorations.
Dec 06, 2009 Noreen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of Doctorow's incisive and thought-provoking essays on the art of fiction, with a brilliant introduction on writing in which he asks: "Why compose fiction when you could be devoting your life to your appetites? Why wrestle with a book when you could be amassing a fortune? Why write when you could be shooting someone?"
Doctorow looks at creators in many categories (from Twain & Fitzgerald to Einstein & Oppenheimer, e.g.), describing ways they gave "meaning to the unmeant," and why their interpretations of physics and metaphysics shaped the public imagination. His final chapter on the bomb was the most meaningful to me.
May 05, 2010 Apa3117 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This collection of essays discusses the story, the narrative, and the genius of a variety of writers with precision, insight, and affection (or disillusionment) by Doctorow, a writer of genius himself. The essays reveal D's great intelligence, wide reading, and brilliant analysis.
Dec 15, 2007 Ethan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some of the essays are very good and have new and interesting insights. Others, not so much. Some folks might be interested to read Doctorow slamming D. H. Lawrence for not getting Poe and Moby Dick right, but I'm not that into lit crit. It did make me want to read Moby Dick, though.
Mar 21, 2008 Amanda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
i really love this man and not just because he attended my alma mater. i found his comments on literature, writers, and what artists give of themselves to be thought provoking and quite meaningful. no i didn't love every essay, but overall i thought outstanding.
Several great chapters in there. Favorites are the essays on Poe, Fitzgerald and Einstein. Doctorow's belief in "communal the ature of creativity," whether in the creation of a great novel or in a paradigm-altering scientific discovery, are beautifully argued.
Mark Valentine
Mar 15, 2016 Mark Valentine rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I greatly admire Doctorow, especially for his recent novel, March. But having this collection of his readings of other great and not-as-great authors gives a clear appreciation into the mind of a man who is himself a creationist.
Oct 02, 2007 Joslyn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction, shorts
happily, it's not about fundamentalists - it's a collection of essays analyzing specific authors & works of literature. i just wasn't in the mood for a formal scholarly tone, nor for literary analysis i guess, so i didn't finish the book.
Jan 08, 2011 Shannon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This one got me by the title and book cover. Oh plus I love this writer. So far it is a really cool look at how writers write and a great play on words with the bible.
Made me want to do more analytical writing.
Fletcher Martin
Jan 21, 2011 Fletcher Martin rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fell in love after reading the intro. The intro had more depth and insight than most full length novels. I hope the rest of the book follows suit.
Aug 28, 2011 SueAnn rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: writing, audiobook
A great resource for those studying literature.
Ensembleorganum rated it liked it
Sep 30, 2016
Susan Metheny
Susan Metheny rated it really liked it
Sep 28, 2016
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E. L. DOCTOROW’S works of fiction include Homer & Langley,The March, Billy Bathgate, Ragtime, the Book of Daniel, City of God, Welcome to Hard Times, Loon Lake, World’s Fair, The Waterworks, and All the Time in the World. Among his honors are the National Book Award, three National Book Critics Circle Awards, two PEN Faulkner Awards, The Edith Wharton Citation for Fiction, and the presidential ...more
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