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The Art of the Essay, 1999 (The Anchor Essay Annual Series) 1st Anchor Books ed Edition

5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0385484152
ISBN-10: 0385484151
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers 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 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

These two collections prove once again that the state of the essay in America is just fine, thank you, and in fact livelier and more diverse than ever, thank you very much. "Essays are how we speak to one another in print," Hoagland says in his introduction. The 25 speakers he has chosen include the familiar (Joan Didion, Annie Dillard, Ian Frazier, Mary Gordon, Arthur Miller, Joyce Carol Oates) and the not so well known (Michael Cox, Brian Doyle, John McNeel). They speak on subjects ranging from wonderfully metaphoric compression wood (Franklin Burroughs) to Job (Cynthia Ozick), from the Cowardly Lion father (John Lahr) to the senile mother (Mary Gordon), and from Proust (Andre Aciman) to Hemingway (Joan Didion). Hoagland's introduction, "Writers Afoot," is a gem. While Best American Essays traditionally presents the pieces alphabetically by author, Lopate's Art of the Essay pairs his 28 selections by theme. This is particularly effective with "seeing," where Erin McGraw holds her own up against Hoagland (yes, Lopate chose an essay by Hoagland called "I Can See" on his seeing, blindness, and sight restoration), apprenticeships (Thomas Bellar and the late Andre Dubus), andAsurprisinglyAreligion (Jonathan Rosen and Kathleen Norris). All academic and public libraries should have "The Best American Essays" series, and the price is right for supplementing this year's offering with The Art of the Essay.AMary Paumier Jones, Westminster P.L., CO
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Series: The Anchor Essay Annual Series
  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Anchor; 1st Anchor Books ed edition (September 14, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385484151
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385484152
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #791,411 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By tct on September 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
I absolutely loved almost all the essays in the book: some of them were so engrossing, I got on the wrong train to work because I was too busy reading them. I find these eassys a bit more divrse then the "Best American Essays" and tighter than the ones in "The Pushcart Prize" collection. Phillip Lopate is a wonderful essayist in his own right, and he has chosen wisely.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Shalom Freedman HALL OF FAME on April 4, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is a very rich collection of essays. Two of those which were of special interest to me were Jonathan Rosen's, "The Talmud and the Internet" which was later expanded into a book by that name. And Floyd Skoot's Kismet a most moving essay about his own family and his brother's death.

Lopate has a great understanding of the genre. He includes 'rediscoveries' Orwell 's "Some Thoughts on the Common Toad", and Derek Walcott's "The Antilles."
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4 of 11 people found the following review helpful By E. M. Duffy on December 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
It's kind of like a bound collection of op-ed pieces...which I like...on topics I may never confront personally from a point of view hopefully as different from mine as it can get. Gotta disagree with the Bachelorhood assesment. I found his last collection Portrait of my Body to be more focused and more intimate written by a man who already has spent 25 years reviewing his life in print.
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1 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 25, 1999
Format: Paperback
This is such a damn interesting book, filled with really inteligent inspiring voices. I think there is plenty of idiocy out there in Amazon land, but I'm sort of bummed to be writing the first review of the thing. Come on folks! Also, check out Lopate's Bachelorhood. A Gem of a book
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1 of 15 people found the following review helpful By ms. missy on November 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
OK, man, I'm gonna go read this book -- The five stars stand for your passionate, exasperated review!
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The Art of the Essay, 1999 (The Anchor Essay Annual Series)
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