Life Sentences

Overview

Further literary writings by the foremost practitioner of the informal essay in our time.Reading an essay by Joseph Epstein is much like watching Joe DiMaggio hit a pitched ball: the pleasure is in watching a difficult art performed with matchless grace and ease. In Life Sentences, his fourth collection of literary essays, Epstein considers the lives and works of nineteen writers of note, appreciating many of them, roughing up some others, and overall weighing them in the very finely calibrated balance of his ...

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Overview

Further literary writings by the foremost practitioner of the informal essay in our time.Reading an essay by Joseph Epstein is much like watching Joe DiMaggio hit a pitched ball: the pleasure is in watching a difficult art performed with matchless grace and ease. In Life Sentences, his fourth collection of literary essays, Epstein considers the lives and works of nineteen writers of note, appreciating many of them, roughing up some others, and overall weighing them in the very finely calibrated balance of his well-stocked mind. His subjects include Michel de Montaigne, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Conrad, Mary McCarthy, Alexander Solzhenitsyn, Robert Lowell, John Dos Passos, Edmund Wilson, Elizabeth Bishop, Ambrose Bierce, and Philip Larkin. No overarching theory or grinding ideological ax mars these finely nuanced readings of writers who matter; as Epstein writes, "What unites this collection of literary essays is the interest of the man who wrote them." And what interests him is excellence in literature.Few pleasures in life are as dependable as reading a Joseph Epstein essay. In that sense Life Sentences is another blue-chip public offering.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780393333398
  • Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/1/1997
  • Pages: 348
  • Sales rank: 700,380
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 0.78 (d)

Meet the Author

Joseph Epstein

Joseph Epstein has been the editor of the American Scholar since 1975. His own books of essays include The Middle of My Tether, Once More Around the Block, A Line Out for a Walk, Pertinent Players, and With My Trousers Rolled (all published by Norton). He was guest editor for Best American Essays (1993) and teaches at Northwestern University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.

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