The Anchor Essay Annual

Overview

Anchor Books proudly launches an annual essay series.  Acclaimed essayist Phillip Lopate has selected the most surprising, important, and exquisite pieces published during the last twelve months.  Bringing together materials from both periodicals and books, The Anchor Essay Annual 1997 also includes essays never before published, as well as translations from abroad.  The result is as rich and unique as it is cosmopolitan.

In her brilliantly frank ...

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Overview

Anchor Books proudly launches an annual essay series.  Acclaimed essayist Phillip Lopate has selected the most surprising, important, and exquisite pieces published during the last twelve months.  Bringing together materials from both periodicals and books, The Anchor Essay Annual 1997 also includes essays never before published, as well as translations from abroad.  The result is as rich and unique as it is cosmopolitan.

In her brilliantly frank "Revelation", Mary Gaitskill recounts the religious epiphany that changed her life.  Hilton Als explores the "Negressity" of his soul in "My Pin-Up".  In his dazzling "The Laying Off of Desire", Jean Baudrillard sets forth a flamboyant dissection of human sexuality.  Hubert Butler ruminates on the stunted life of his handicapped grandchild in "Little K."  We relive the glories and disappointments of the Borscht Belt in Vivian Gornick's evocative group portrait, "The Catskills Remembered".  And we ride a rollercoaster of cultural insight in Daniel Harris's "A Psychosexual History of the Homosexual Body".  A a whole, this superb collection is a heady cocktail indeed.

All of this exciting new work is placed in context with an illuminating introduction from Phillip Lopate, "the house authority on the genre and its greatest practitioner" (Washington Times).  With generous selections from over twenty-five writers from around the world, The Anchor Essay Annual 1997 is the first in what is sure to become a series widely anticipated and highly acclaimed, every October, for years to come.

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Editorial Reviews

Portland Oregonian
Lively, weird and well-chosen by Lopate.
Portland Oregonian
Lively, weird and well-chosen by Lopate.
Kirkus Reviews
With essays by more than 25 writers from around the world, this collection presents a diverse and usually engaging, arguably comprehensive cross-section of some of today's best nonfiction. Since their perfection by Montaigne, essays have gone through any number of peaks and sloughs of popularity. Now they are such the rage that creative writing programs are rushing to offer essay MFAs. As surely as any tulip craze, it's a bubble, one that is responsible for most of the least successful essays here, with their pointless autobiographizing, tedious solipsism, and strained preciousness. Fortunately, given the size and breadth and general quality of this collection, these few clunkers can be quickly and almost harmlessly skipped over. Overall, Lopate (Portrait of My Body), in his second stint as editor of this collection, has done a signal job of amassing and arranging a number of challenging, revealing, even startling essaysþalthough, with contributions from such notables as David Foster Wallace, Luc Sante, Edward Said, and Francine Prose, it's hard to go too far wrong. Topics range across the full spectrum of the human comedy, from birth to divorce to death and everything in between. Yet there is a charming quirkiness to many of the selections, a necessary unnecessariness that reveals more than a more conventional, straightforward essay might. For example, there is Edward Hoagland on his encounters with wild animals, Margaret Talbot on '50s pin-up legend Bettie Page, Emily Fox Gordon on being a faculty wife. Lopate has managed to put in something for everybody without most of the dumbing down and leaden compromises such a popularist enterprise usually requires. Like a box ofchocolates, full of surprises—and usually good ones.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385484138
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/15/1997
  • Edition description: ANNUAL
  • Pages: 436
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.50 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Phillip Lopate
Phillip Lopate is the author of the essay collections Portrait of My Body (Anchor Books), Against Joie de Vivre, Bachelorhood, The Rug Merchant, and Being With Children, as well as a novel, The Confessions of Summer.  He lives in Brooklyn, New York, with his wife and daughter.
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