The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Paperback – 1 Jun 1995
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" A wonderful book. The most charming smorgasbord imaginable of essays from around the world." -- Diane Cole, "USA Today,"
" Without a doubt, this is the most nourishing essay collection I've read in years." -- Susan Burmeister-Brown, "Portland Oregonian,"
" A labor of deeply felt love and keenly honed scholarship by an essay authority who knows his territory down to his bones." -- "Christian Science Monitor,"
" The best available [essay anthology] no matter how crowded the field." -- "Chicago Tribune,"
" The striking thing is how much Lopate has managed to pack in, and how high a standard he has managed to maintain." -- John Gross, "New York Newsday,"
" Packed with personality and beguiling first-person prose... of reminders of the perils and pleasures of the craft." -- "The Wall Street Journal,"
"A wonderful book. The most charming smorgasbord imaginable of essays from around the world." -- Diane Cole, "USA Today."
"Without a doubt, this is the most nourishing essay collection I've read in years." -- Susan Burmeister-Brown, "Portland Oregonian."
"A labor of deeply felt love and keenly honed scholarship by an essay authority who knows his territory down to his bones." -- "Christian Science Monitor."
"The best available [essay anthology] no matter how crowded the field." -- "Chicago Tribune."
"The striking thing is how much Lopate has managed to pack in, and how high a standard he has managed to maintain." -- John Gross, "New York Newsday."
"Packed with personality and beguiling first-person prose... of reminders of the perils and pleasures of the craft." -- "The Wall Street Journal."
"A wonderful book. The most charming smorgasbordimaginable of essays from around the world."-- Diane Cole, "USA Today."
"Without a doubt, this is the mostnourishing essay collection I've read in years."-- Susan Burmeister-Brown, "PortlandOregonian."
"A labor of deeplyfelt love and keenly honed scholarship by anessay authority who knows his territory down to hisbones." -- "Christian ScienceMonitor."
"The best available [essayanthology] no matter how crowded the field."-- "Chicago Tribune."
"The striking thing is how much Lopate has managedto pack in, and how high a standard he hasmanaged to maintain." -- John Gross, "NewYork Newsday."
"Packed withpersonality and beguiling first-person prose... ofreminders of the perils and pleasures of thecraft." -- "The Wall StreetJournal.""
From the Inside Flap
For more than four hundred years, the personal essay has been one of the richest and most vibrant of all literary forms. Distinguished from the detached formal essay by its friendly, conversational tone, its loose structure, and its drive toward candor and self-disclosure, the personal essay seizes on the minutiae of daily life-vanities, fashions, foibles, oddballs, seasonal rituals, love and disappointment, the pleasures of solitude, reading, taking a walk -- to offer insight into the human condition and the great social and political issues of the day. "The Art of the Personal Essay is the first anthology to celebrate this fertile genre. By presenting more than seventy-five personal essays, including influential forerunners from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Far East, masterpieces from the dawn of the personal essay in the sixteenth century, and a wealth of the finest personal essays from the last four centuries, editor Phillip Lopate, himself an acclaimed essayist, displays the tradition of the personal essay in all its historical grandeur, depth, and diversity.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
There will be discoveries; there will be disappointments. I was saddened to see George Orwell describe life 'between seven and eighteen, say' as 'walking the tightrope over a cesspool'. We knew you were 'by nature not gregarious', George, but do for heaven's sake buck up! He moans that at school only one hot bath was allowed a week; how could he not know that this was quite the norm in households of moderate means? Just as there was washing day, there was bath night. (But India may have encouraged different habits.) Though Lopate includes a substantial 'other cultures' section, including a solitary Irishman, the modern Americans, surprisingly, don't get that much of a look-in - though there are *seventy* pages of Montaigne, for Pete's sake! - suggesting this was projected as a (rather unwieldy) textbook which at its heart cleaves rather more closely to the Oxford Book of Essays than one might have hoped. No matter - it's a start, and leaves Lopate scope, should he so wish, for his own personal, rather than representative, book of the genre
*A Stoic was exactly what he was, of course, as well as a spectacularly bad playwright
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
In his introduction, Lopate says of the personal essay: The hallmark of the personal essay is its intimacy. The writer seems to be speaking directly into your ear, confiding everything from gossip to wisdom. Through sharing thoughts, memories, desires, complaints, and whimsies, the personal essayist sets up a relationship with the reader, a dialogue, a friendship, if you will, based on identification, understanding, testiness, and companionship.
The introduction is with rich detail of everything you ever needed to know about the "personal essay". He delves into his selection, rationale and arrangement of this book. As I said, everything you ever needed to know is here!
The collection consists of 75 personal essays, spanning over 400 years. The first section is called the forerunners, these are the earliest dating from 1600's, including: Seneca, Plutarch, Kenko, Shonagon, Hsiu, Michel De Montaigne. Then, the rise of the English essay: Abraham Cowley, Addison & Steele, Samuel Johnson, Robert Louis Stevenson, Virginia Woolf, Orwell, etc.
Another section is titled "Other Cultures, Other Continents", some listed are: Ivan Turgenev, Lu Hsun, Jorge Luis Borges, Roland Barthes, etc. Last section is titled "American Scene" includes: Thoreau, Thurber, McCarthy, Fitzgerald, E.B. White, Baldwin, Didion, Lopate, etc., etc.
Then, he has all essays in a table of contents categorized by "Theme and Form". Some types of theme are are: ambition, city life, country living, death, drugs & alcohol, disability & illness, food, family ties, leisure, love and sexuality, music, nature, walking, race & ethnicity etc. etc.
The classifications of essays under "Form" list: analytical meditation, consolation, diatribe, humor, list, mossaic, memoir, etc., etc. Many of the essays may be cross-referenced into a few different classifications.
If you consider writing essay, this is a great tool and a real keeper. ..Rizzo
The essay is fast becoming one of my favorite forms - it is short, funny, and insightful. I highly recommend this book to ANYONE.
Time has made me appreciate the voices contained within its cover greatly.
The voices are so varied - from George Orwell's beautifully written essay on life in a British boarding school to James Baldwin's piece on his father's death and life as a Black man in America. We feel with each author, cry with them and share in their triumphs. Though the styles are quite different from one author to the next, the common thread is each person's love of writing, their adept manipulation of language, and the most important element of the essay - their honesty in each line.
This is an excellent choice for those are learning the art of creative nonfiction or for those more seasoned readers or writers who truly want a satisfying read.