Get personalized recommendations and earn points toward a free book!
Check Out
The Bestselling Books of All Time
See the List

Daemon Voices

Best Seller
Daemon Voices by Philip Pullman
Sep 18, 2018 | 480 Pages
See All Formats (3) +
  • Paperback $18.95

    Sep 10, 2019 | 480 Pages

  • Hardcover $30.00

    Sep 18, 2018 | 480 Pages

  • Ebook $14.99

    Sep 18, 2018 | 480 Pages

Buy the Audiobook Download:

Product Details


Recipient of an Anne Izard Storytellers’ Choice Award

“These essays cast a spell. . . To read them is to be invigorated by the company of a joyfully wide-ranging, endlessly curious and imaginative mind. . . a delightful jaunt. . .”The New York Times Book Review

“A splendid collection. . . literary insights that will enrich and inspire.”The Wall Street Journal

“Few contemporary writers of imaginative fiction are able to explore large ethical and moral issues authoritatively, accommodating both intellect and emotion. . . Pullman achieves this without abandoning personal responsibility. . . This wide-ranging excursion maintains impressive coherence and is bound to satisfy devoted Pullman readers curious about his illuminating observations and why the appetite for—and value of—fiction is universal, from fire-lit cave to seminar room.”Library Journal

“A thoughtful collection. . . Despite his declaration in an early piece that, outside of knowing “what it feels like to write a story,” Pullman doesn’t consider himself an authority on the subject, these smart, insightful, and often humorous essays make it clear that is exactly what he is.”Bustle

“This anthology of speeches, articles, and forewords by His Dark Materials author Philip Pullman offers fascinating insight into why, and how, a great fantasy author writes. Writers or storytellers of any kind who despair that their craft is self-indulgent will likely appreciate Pullman’s thoughts on why fiction is a valuable part of the human experience.”The Portalist

“Remarkably astute. . . Daemon Voices is a wonderful distillation of decades of writing and thinking about what goes into storytelling. Like his best books, it has a richness of ideas in its wide breadth of topics and illuminating conclusions.”The A. V. Club

“Pullman can unwind certain dense topics as lyrically as a poet.”The Christian Science Monitor

“[Daemon Voices] reads as if you’re having a highly illuminating conversation with a genius about how the storytelling sausage is made. It’s a portrait of a writer turned inside out, and anyone involved in the same endeavor will feel slightly less insane for having read it.”Santa Fe New Mexican

“Pullman offers meaty but always lucidly argued ruminations on the nature of story. . . these articles, talks, and introductory essays consistently demonstrate that Pullman. . . is as fine a thinker as he is a storyteller. . . A collection of pieces infused with abundant wisdom, provocative notions, and illuminating insights.”Kirkus Reviews (starred)

“This collection of 32 talks, published articles, and prefaces written between 1997 and 2014 by children’s writer Pullman (La Belle Sauvage) addresses “the business of the storyteller” with the quiet confidence of a master craftsmen sharing the tricks of his trade. Though Pullman claims no authority beyond knowing “what it feels like to write a story,” the essays delineate and defend the real work of fiction to nourish imagination, shape moral understanding, and, above all, delight. The book progresses from how stories work—“the aim must always be clarity”—to why they matter, along the way peeking into Pullman’s inspirations (notably including William Blake, Robert Burton, John Milton, and the Grimm brothers), pet peeves (“I shall say no more about our current educational system”), and process. Democratic in his philosophy, materialist in his beliefs (“this world is where the things are that matter”), and with a droll humor that occasionally approaches whimsy, Pullman employs a confiding, ruminative tone, a sharply analytical eye, and a vocabulary free of pedantry or cant to insist on the central value of a sense of wonder. The book is a toolbox stacked with generous, sensible advice for writers and thinkers who agree with Pullman that stories “are not luxuries; they’re essential to our wellbeing.”Publishers Weekly

Table Of Contents

Topic Finder

Introduction by Simon Mason
Magic Carpets
The Writer’s Responsibilities
The Writing of Stories
Making It Up and Writing It Down
Heinrich von Kleist: “On the Marionette Theatre”
Grace Lost and Regained
Paradise Lost
An Introduction
The Origin of the Universe  
The Storytelling of Science and Religion: A Response to a Lecture by Stephen Hawking
The Path Through the Wood
How Stories Work
Dreaming of Spires
Oxfords, Real and Imaginary
What Do You Mean?
Children’s Literature Without Borders
Stories Shouldn’t Need Passports
Let’s Write It in Red
The Practice of Writing

Big Stories About Big Things

Folk Tales of Britain
Streams of Stories Down Through the Years

As Clear as Water
Making a New Version of the Brothers Grimm

A Bar at the Folies-Bergère
Modernism and Storytelling

Poco a Poco
The Fundamental Particles of Narrative

The Classical Tone
Narrative Tact and Other Classical Virtues

Reading in the Borderland  
Reading, Books and Pictures

Oliver Twist
An Introduction

Let’s Pretend  
Novels, Films and the Theatre

The Firework-Maker’s Daughter on Stage
The Story of a Story

Imaginary Friends
Are Stories Anti-Scientific?

Behind the Masks

Balloon Debate  
Why Fiction Is Valuable

The Anatomy of Melancholy  
An Introduction to an Indispensable Book

Soft Beulah’s Night
William Blake and Vision

Writing Fantasy Realistically  
Fantasy, Realism and Faith

The Story of The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ
A Response to Puzzled Readers

The Cat, the Chisel and the Grave
Do We Need a Theory of Human Nature to Tell Us How to Write Stories?

“I Must Create a System . . .”  
A Moth’s-eye View of William Blake

Talents and Virtues  
Another Visit to Miss Goddard’s Grave

God and Dust  
Notes for a Study Day with the Bishop of Oxford

The Republic of Heaven
God Is Dead, Long Live the Republic!


Looking for More Great Reads?
Download our Spring Fiction Sampler Now
Back to Top