The Art of the Essay 1999

Overview

Now in its third year, this annual collection presents the most notable, influential, and surprising essays published in the last twelve months in either books or periodicals throughout the English-speaking world. Selected with consummate taste and a catholic openness to style and subject matter by famed essayist, critic, and editor, Phillip Lopate, the 1999 edition demonstrates that the form continues its renaissance as an unrivaled vehicle of intelligence and sensibility.

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Overview

Now in its third year, this annual collection presents the most notable, influential, and surprising essays published in the last twelve months in either books or periodicals throughout the English-speaking world. Selected with consummate taste and a catholic openness to style and subject matter by famed essayist, critic, and editor, Phillip Lopate, the 1999 edition demonstrates that the form continues its renaissance as an unrivaled vehicle of intelligence and sensibility.

For this edition, Lopate has paired his tewnty-eight selections by topic, which offers suprising parallels and divergences in points of view. Andre Dubus and Tom Beller on apprentice work as a form of true experience; Richard Rorty and George Packer on the quixotic and often self-defeating character of the American left; Siri Hustvedt and Wayne Koestenbaum on the verities of erotic experience; Bliss Broyard and M. G. Stephens on their fathers; Marcus Laffey and Charles Bowden on violence, crime, and police work; Susan Sontag and Martha Nussbaum on the necessity and consolation of art--these are just some of the peerless practitioners of the essay featured in this superb collection.

All of this exciting new work is placed in context by an equally superb introductory essay by Lopate. A special feature of this 1999 edition is an appendix in which literary and intellectual notables nominate their selections of the best and most influential essays and essayists of the century. This prestigious Anchor annual is more than ever an unequaled showcase for an indispensable and ever-changing literary form.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[Lopate] has done a signal job of amassing and arranging a number of challenging, revealing, even startling essays...a few more collections of this caliber and Anchor might just have an institution on its hands." --Kirkus Review om the 1998 edition
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Using the same skill he employed in the last two editions of this annual collection, Lopate (editor of The Art of the Personal Essay) has compiled diverse essays from some of the best contemporary writers and juxtaposed them intriguingly, making for a satisfying and provocative anthology. Individually, the pieces range in subject and form from Alexander Theroux's ruminations on the color black as a "kind of abstract unindividualized deficiency" to Jonathan Rosen's angst over the loss of the journal he had kept on his computer chronicling his grandmother's dying to Margaret Talbot's indictment of what she sees as environmentalist Bill McKibben's smug piousness and philosophical fallacies. The essays fall into categories ranging from religion to sports, from politics to aging, coupled in such a way as to reveal the variety of the essay form itself. For example, Andre Dubus's keen essay, "Digging," recounts the time he spent as a teenager on a construction site, learning the value of hard work, while the following essay, Thomas Beller's "Portrait of the Bagel as a Young Man," is a whimsical view of a young slacker who toils only to pay the rent and cull anecdotes for his future journalistic career. Among the other notable pairings are Susan Sontag's essay on the ecstasy of opera and Martha Nussbaum's on the necessity of artistic tragedy; Siri Hustvedt's piece on the importance of eros is followed by Wayne Koestenbaum's brilliantly faceted entry on sexual commodification. Lopate's wonderful intuition combined with the work of these notable writers make this a superb collection. (Sept.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780385484152
  • Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 9/14/1999
  • Edition description: 1 ED
  • Pages: 420
  • 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 Against Joie de Vivre, Bachelorhood, Being with Children, Portrait of My Body, and Totally, Tenderly, Tragically, and the novels The Rug Merchant and Confessions of a Summer. He is the editor of The Art of the Personal Essay, the Library of America's Writing New York, and the series editor of The Art of the Essay. His film criticism appears regularly in The New York Times and other publications. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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