Portrait Inside My Head: Essays

Overview

From the distinguished essayist and undisputed master of the form, a lively, tender, and provocative new collection celebrating the life of the mind, from challenges of a Brooklyn childhood to the pleasures of baseball, movies, sex, books, friendship, and more.

In this stunning compilation of personal essays, celebrated author, film critic, poet, and acclaimed essayist Phillip Lopate weaves together the most colorful threads of a life well lived, inviting readers on an ...

See more details below
Hardcover
$20.55
BN.com price
(Save 20%)$26.00 List Price

Pick Up In Store

Reserve and pick up in 60 minutes at your local store

Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (47) from $1.99   
  • New (24) from $1.99   
  • Used (23) from $1.99   
Portrait Inside My Head: Essays

Available on NOOK devices and apps  
  • NOOK Devices
  • NOOK HD/HD+ Tablet
  • NOOK
  • NOOK Color
  • NOOK Tablet
  • Tablet/Phone
  • NOOK for Windows 8 Tablet
  • NOOK for iOS
  • NOOK for Android
  • NOOK Kids for iPad
  • PC/Mac
  • NOOK for Windows 8
  • NOOK for PC
  • NOOK for Mac
  • NOOK Study
  • NOOK for Web

Want a NOOK? Explore Now

NOOK Book (eBook)
$10.93
BN.com price

Overview

From the distinguished essayist and undisputed master of the form, a lively, tender, and provocative new collection celebrating the life of the mind, from challenges of a Brooklyn childhood to the pleasures of baseball, movies, sex, books, friendship, and more.

In this stunning compilation of personal essays, celebrated author, film critic, poet, and acclaimed essayist Phillip Lopate weaves together the most colorful threads of a life well lived, inviting readers on an invigorating and thoughtful journey through memory, culture, parenthood, the trials of marriage both young and old, and an extraordinary look at New York’s storied past and present.

In his native Brooklyn, Lopate immerses readers in his rough-and-tumble childhood, where he tutored in the employ of a woman his sister dubbed “The Polish Countess,” and became practiced in the art of cowardice after watching his brother in bloody streetfights. From there, Lopate takes us to the ballgame to discuss the trouble with ex-baseball fans; to the theatre to dissect Virginia Woolf’s opinion that film should keep its cotton-pickin’ hands off literature; and to visit his brother, radio personality Leonard Lopate, offering a rare glimpse into the unique sibling rivalry between them.

Letting his mind wander skillfully across the page, Lopate offers a stirring meditation on everything from sex and politics to baseball and aging. Essay Love is a charming and spirited new collection for readers to treasure.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble

Philip Lopate once wrote that his prose style drifted in and out of beauty. In this new collection of essays, one is grateful for those adroit meanderings; Lopate never allowing us to forget that fine prose comes in many colors. Thus, The Portrait Inside My Head contains pieces both unpretentiously personal and reflectively critical. Nevertheless, Lopate never quite convince us that he is, as he insists, truly cynical; his deep, humane interest in the world around belies that claim, for which readers can be truly grateful.

The New York Times Book Review - Morris Dickstein
[Lopate's] gods are Montaigne, the father of the essay, whose field of research was his own mind, and William Hazlitt, who, besides being an incomparable literary critic, sketched vehement novelistic impressions of what no one else thought worth noticing…What holds [Portrait Inside My Head] together is an engaging voice, the projection of a curious, appealingly modest, sometimes self-mocking character behind that voice, and "the fluent play of a single consciousness." He's gifted at staging his inner conflicts, radiating intimacy without descending into the confessional. Again and again Lopate writes less about a stable subject than about his own constantly evolving views of it.
Publishers Weekly
Meandering merrily along in the footsteps of the great classical essayists Montaigne and William Hazlitt, acclaimed cultural critic Lopate traipses breezily through family life and literary, cultural, social, and political matters in this collection of mostly previously published essays. With his typical elegance and peripatetic curiosity, Lopate ranges over topics from the adventures of parenting, his enduring love of baseball, and changing one’s mind about a movie to a thoughtful mediation on the conflict between city planner Robert Moses and city champion Jane Jacobs along with meditations on James Agee, Thomas Bernhard, and Allen Ginsberg, among others. In a hilarious and tender essay, he describes taking his young daughter to tea at the Plaza Hotel, simply because he and his wife wanted to provide their daughter with a quintessential Manhattan event: “We were bound and determined to give her all the social graces and sophisticated experiences that befit her, if not our, station in life.” Lopate describes the terror and despair of their daughter’s unexplainable illness and their relentless stays in the hospital, and he affirms the beleaguered sense of gratitude that shines through the fear: “If because of her I was obliged to enter the Kingdom of Anxiety, such is the lot of all parents, and a small price to pay for the plenitude of her being.” Lopate praises the design of the High Line park in New York “as good as things get these days,” and he expresses his happiness with “any new public space that worked, in this era of relentless privatization.” Throughout these essays, Lopate admits jauntily and gracefully that he writes to exist and that taking “the most provocative positions that clash with conventional morality is child’s play next to the difficulty of getting through daily domestic life.” Agent: Wendy Weil, the Wendy Weil Agency. (Feb.)
From the Publisher
“Immensely readable essays. . . As riveting as short stories, with arresting openings, sculptured scenes worthy of fiction, introspective passages fingering his own feelings, and haunting conclusions that resonate. . . .What holds it together is an engaging voice, the projection of a curious, appealingly modest, sometimes self-mocking character behind that voice, and the “the fluent play of a single consciousness.” He’s gifted at staging his inner conflicts, radiating intimacy without descending into the confessional. . . . [Lopate] remains “a storyteller at heart” who can liven up any subject with nimble anecdotes from his life. . . . Delightful.”

"An engaging collection of personal essays. . . . [Lopate] draws you in, playcing you in his writing space, and you feel his impatience to get to the page and draw you into his mind and through his world."

"A connoisseur of the personal essay. . . [Lopate's] style and mileu are reminiscent of novels by Henry Roth and early Saul Bellow."

"Phillip Lopate is America's Montaigne, bringing the same sense of moderation, warmth, and curiousity to the personal essay."

“Hilarious and tender… Meandering merrily along in the footsteps of the great classical essayists Montaigne and William Hazlitt, acclaimed cultural critic Lopate traipses breezily through family life and literary, cultural, social, and political matters…with his typical elegance and peripatetic curiosity.”

"Esteemed essayist and poet Lopate offers 'a motley collection of essays, personal and critical' . . . Readers are well-rewarded for his obsession."

“Lopate does the essay proud. He is elegant in style and a real slugger when it comes to content….Lopate is an ardent, shrewd urban chronicler, piquantly incisive in analyzing film and literature and unnervingly candid and combative in addressing intimate relationships, sexual performance, and his loving rivalry with his brother, Lenny, the well-known New York radio host…[An] ensnaring book.”

“Phillip Lopate is one of the greatest essayists of our time, and Portrait Inside My Head proves it again. His writing is provocative, intimate, intellectually curious, clear-eyed, and funny as hell. He’s a fearless, exquisitely aware chronicler of thought and feeling. Being Phillip Lopate, he’d probably also be skeptical about so much praise, but in this case he’d be totally (tenderly, tragically) wrong.”

“It’s impossible to overestimate how completely Phillip Lopate’s anthology The Art of the Personal Essay reframed and revivified the personal essay for contemporary American writers and readers. In his new collection of essays, Portrait Inside My Head, Lopate demonstrates his own immense virtues as an essayist—his ceaseless ability to “think against” himself."

“Few living writers have done as much to shape the contemporary essay as Phillip Lopate, but he’s clearly not done. Portrait Inside My Head is a welcome reminder of how good he is as an essayist and how vital he makes the form, in all its miscellany, reverie, sparkle, and spectacle. Memoir is for suckers. The essay is—and these essays definitely are—where the jam’s at.”

Harvard Review
"Phillip Lopate just may be the contemporary godfather of the personal essay, the scope and depth of his inner musings like those of a modern-day Montaigne....Over the course of his career, Lopate has set out to champion the essay as a conduit of human expression and companion to the mind at work. Portrait Inside My Head, a work of both charm and intellect, shows him to be a master of the form."
Kirkus Reviews
Esteemed essayist and poet Lopate (At the End of the Day: Selected Poems and an Introductory Essay, 2010, etc.) offers "a motley collection of essays, personal and critical," loosely tied together around the theme of "the discovery of limitations, and learning to live with them." The author divides the essays into sections devoted to family, daily life, city spaces and literary concerns. Yet there is a single "sensibility flowing through disparate subject matters," that of the good-humored cynic and gentle contrarian. In the first essay, the simple event of Lopate's daughter losing a balloon presents evidence that life is, in the end, "loss, futility, and ineluctable sorrow." In another essay, the author concludes that being a baseball fan "means learning to absorb failure and be on a friendly footing with defeat." And so it goes through essays on sex, marriage, film, writing, politics, the Bible and more. Lopate leaves behind at times the purely personal with telling essays on film and literature. He moves from revisiting Ginsberg's Howl to thoughts on a wide variety of writers, including Charles Reznikoff, Leonard Michaels, Stendhal and others. No matter the topic, however, another constant throughout is fine writing; the words Lopate chooses are the only words that will do. "The interruptive nocturne of clinics" perfectly captures nights on the pediatric ward where his daughter spent so much of her infancy. Brooklyn, he muses in a paean to his beloved hometown, has "a touch of the amateur, voluntary, homemade about the place." In a concluding essay, Lopate confesses that writing is his life. Readers are well-rewarded for his obsession. A master class on the pleasures of the English language well-wrought--a useful complement to his guide on writing literary nonfiction, To Show and to Tell, which will publish simultaneously.
The New York Times Book Review
“Immensely readable essays. . . As riveting as short stories, with arresting openings, sculptured scenes worthy of fiction, introspective passages fingering his own feelings, and haunting conclusions that resonate. . . .What holds it together is an engaging voice, the projection of a curious, appealingly modest, sometimes self-mocking character behind that voice, and the “the fluent play of a single consciousness.” He’s gifted at staging his inner conflicts, radiating intimacy without descending into the confessional. . . . [Lopate] remains “a storyteller at heart” who can liven up any subject with nimble anecdotes from his life. . . . Delightful.”
San Francisco Book Review (4 stars)
"An engaging collection of personal essays. . . . [Lopate] draws you in, playcing you in his writing space, and you feel his impatience to get to the page and draw you into his mind and through his world."
Christian Science Monitor
"A connoisseur of the personal essay. . . [Lopate's] style and mileu are reminiscent of novels by Henry Roth and early Saul Bellow."
Baltimore City Paper
"Phillip Lopate is America's Montaigne, bringing the same sense of moderation, warmth, and curiousity to the personal essay."
author of The Ask and The Fun Parts - Sam Lipsyte
“Phillip Lopate is one of the greatest essayists of our time, and Portrait Inside My Head proves it again. His writing is provocative, intimate, intellectually curious, clear-eyed, and funny as hell. He’s a fearless, exquisitely aware chronicler of thought and feeling. Being Phillip Lopate, he’d probably also be skeptical about so much praise, but in this case he’d be totally (tenderly, tragically) wrong.”
author of How Literature Saved My Life - David Shields
“It’s impossible to overestimate how completely Phillip Lopate’s anthology The Art of the Personal Essay reframed and revivified the personal essay for contemporary American writers and readers. In his new collection of essays, Portrait Inside My Head, Lopate demonstrates his own immense virtues as an essayist—his ceaseless ability to “think against” himself."
author of Vanishing Point - Ander Monson
“Few living writers have done as much to shape the contemporary essay as Phillip Lopate, but he’s clearly not done. Portrait Inside My Head is a welcome reminder of how good he is as an essayist and how vital he makes the form, in all its miscellany, reverie, sparkle, and spectacle. Memoir is for suckers. The essay is—and these essays definitely are—where the jam’s at.”
author of The Importance of Being Iceland - Eileen Myles
“There’s something tremendously absorbent about Phillip Lopate’s essays. . . . The reading experience he assembles for us always commands my attention like the wise and mysterious shrug of someone smart.”
author of Selected Poems - Charles Simic
“The personal essay is one of the most intellectually satisfying and most entertaining literary forms that we have in our day and age and Phillip Lopate is its undisputed master.”
author of Lifespan of a Fact - John D'Agata
“Phillip Lopate's new collection of essays is refreshingly, delightfully, and justifiably acerbic, a miscellany that consistently delivers thoughtful and touching insights that sway from sadness to hilarity, to tenderness, grumpiness, exasperation, etcetera. The result is not only a portrait of what's going on inside Lopate's head, but of the mechanisms of essaying that have made this genre vibrant for millennia. "Essay" doesn't look as cool as some other words do on coffee mugs or tote bags, but its legacy is one that doesn't need a lot of bling. Pardon my potty mouth, but it takes balls to insist on eschewing the momentary fads that grab attention, and to vigorously align oneself instead with an art form that has fallen out of fashion. It's a risk that he's taken on behalf of the essay for more than thirty years. God bless Phillip Lopate's balls.”
Booklist
“Lopate does the essay proud. He is elegant in style and a real slugger when it comes to content….Lopate is an ardent, shrewd urban chronicler, piquantly incisive in analyzing film and literature and unnervingly candid and combative in addressing intimate relationships, sexual performance, and his loving rivalry with his brother, Lenny, the well-known New York radio host…[An] ensnaring book.”
Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781451695861
  • Publisher: Free Press
  • Publication date: 2/12/2013
  • Pages: 304
  • Sales rank: 968,723
  • Product dimensions: 6.30 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Lopate

Phillip Lopate is the author of three previous personal essay collections, Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre and Portrait of My Body, and Waterfront. He directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(0)

4 Star

(0)

3 Star

(0)

2 Star

(0)

1 Star

(0)

Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation

Reminder:

  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

 
Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)