“I find myself to be radically discontinuous with myself.”
Feel Free is a phenomenal round up of Zadie Smith’s articles and essays over the last ten or so years. Not all of the pieces were for me personally (specifically the heavy dose of highbrow lit crit), but man, the rest really struck me down to my core. So whether you identify as a writer, reader, artist, musician, historian philosopher, millennial, gen-Xer, black, white, or mixed: there’s something that will speak to you, trust me. Together the essays weave a rich tapestry of voices, all varying shades of Smith. Deeply personal experiences presented alongside stoic, critical analyses. She waxes poetic on the importance of libraries, how technology shifts reality, pluralism and the significance of race, why she was terrified of writing in the first person and oh yeah this one time she burned down her Italian apartment. Seriously, something for everyone.
I went with the audiobook (shout-out to narrator Nikki Amuka-Bird for knocking it out of the fucking park) not thinking about the fact that listening to a book makes it super tedious to bookmark or make note of beautiful passages. Soon what started as me googling to find a few direct quotes snowballed into a quest to find all 31+ essays. Turns out, of the essays that had been previously published, most are available online! Some live behind paywalls, some are available as previews but ultimately require a subscription, and some are freebies open to the public. One’s even in German so viel Glück damit…
I didn’t collect all of these links to stick it to the publishing industry or help people bypass checking out the book for themselves. Just thought it’d be nice to compile the works into one easy-to-access spot for anyone else wanting to reference the texts digitally. Our benevolent overlords at Google Books have a ctrl+f-able preview available but it’s not really the same.
PART III: IN THE GALLERY
Killing Orson Welles at Midnight
Crazy They Call me
A Bird of Few Words: Narrative Mysteries in the Paintings of Lynette-Yiadom Boakye
Getting in and Getting Out
MIA: Flaming June, Alte Frau by Balthasar Denner, Mark Bradford’s Niagra, The Tattered Ruins of the Map: On Sarah Sze’s Centrifuge
PART IV: ON THE BOOKSHELF
Crash by JG Ballard
The Buddha of Suburbia by Hanif Kureishi
Notes on NW
The Harper’s Columns
The I Who is not Me (couldn’t find the transcript, but this is an article about it)
PART V: FEEL FREE
The Bathroom & Meet Justin Bieber! (couldn’t find the transcript, but this is an article about it)
Man Versus Corpse
Love in the Gardens
Find your Beach
MIA: The Shadow of Ideas
And while I was scouring the web for EVERYTHING ZADIE I came across two beautiful commencement addresses that I may as well throw into this heap of links:
If you’ve found any of the ones I’m missing are easily accessible and I’m just dumb, drop me a comment and I’ll add it in!
// and now a guide to my header collage//
i.e. in which essays you will find reference to these lovely people/characters
Also is it just me or do Phillip Roth and Denner’s Alte Frau look like they’re related?
Joni Mitchell > Notes on Attunement
Scowling Old Woman > Alte Frau by Balthasar Denner
Billie Holiday > Crazy They Call Me
Michael Jackson, Prince, Beyonce > Dance Lessons for Writers
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network > Generation Why?
Harold Lloyd hanging off a clock in Safety Last! > Killing Orson Welles at Midnight
Key & Peele > Brother from Another Mother
Man with bird, painting titled Mercy over Matter > A Bird of Few Words
Girl lounging in an orange dress > Flaming June
Jay-Z > The House that Hova Built
Zadie Smith looking gorgeous > All of em!
Phillip Roth > The I Who Isn’t Me
Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out > Getting In and Out
Feel Free: Essays
by Zadie Smith
Published: February 2018