The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

by Phillip Lopate
     
 

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

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Overview

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.

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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal - Library Journal
Essayist Lopate ( Against Joie de Vivre , Poseidon Pr., 1991, among others) has selected and introduced some 75 personal essays, covering over 400 years, from the East as well as the West, in an attempt to show the development of the genre. The result is a fascinating overview that could be useful in teaching situations. Given the personal nature of the pieces, it may also appeal to general readers who enjoy biography and autobiography. Lopate considers the personal essay to be a sort of friendship based on ``the supposition that there is a certain unity to human experience.'' He devotes extensive space to Montaigne, ``the patron saint of personal essayists,'' but we also hear from unfamiliar voices, such as a tenth-century Japanese court lady, and from special branches of the essay, such as the American humorists. Of interest to both academic and public libraries.-- Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780385422987
Publisher:
Doubleday Publishing
Publication date:
01/01/1994
Pages:
770
Product dimensions:
6.73(w) x 9.54(h) x 1.93(d)

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