- Series: A New History of the Essay
- Paperback: 656 pages
- Publisher: Graywolf Press; Original edition (August 4, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1555975321
- ISBN-13: 978-1555975326
- Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 2.1 x 8.9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 2.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 7 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,058 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Lost Origins of the Essay (A New History of the Essay) Paperback – August 4, 2009
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From Publishers Weekly
From Ziusudra of Sumer to Antonin Artaud and beyond, the essay in all its glory is on full display in this ingenious anthology. The title doesn't convey the volume's range—the spirit of factual expression, worked on by the imagination, transplanted into many times and in many cultures. This is a book to dip into or read through, certainly to savor for its diversity. The essay tent is wide, and under D'Agata's (Halls of Fame) editorship and astute eye it includes hybrid forms, from William Blake's The Marriage of Heaven and Hell through the prose poems of Aloysius Bertrand, Baudelaire and Mallarmé to a performative essay on Bob Marley by Kamau Brathwaite. Readers will be familiar with the aphorisms of Francis Bacon, somewhat less familiar with the eccentric virtuosity of Sir Thomas Browne and much more so with Jonathan Swift's A Modest Proposal. But readers are perhaps most likely to be turned on for the first time by the prose artistry of Matsuo Basho, the avant-garde musings of Clarice Lispector on the (not-so) simple egg and the obsessive documentarylike musings of Marguerite Duras. Overall, this imaginative international collection showcases the art of short nonfiction at its best. (Aug.)
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About the Author
John D'Agata is the author of Halls of Fame and the editor of The Next American Essay. He teaches in the nonfiction writing program at the University of Iowa and is the editor of lyric essays for Seneca Review.