- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Free Press; 1st edition (February 12, 2013)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1451695861
- ISBN-13: 978-1451695861
- Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 16 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,609,391 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Portrait Inside My Head: Essays Hardcover – February 12, 2013
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Lopate, a zealous advocate for essays, introduces his newest “motley” collection with renewed appreciation for this “wonderfully fluid form,” this “literary testing ground of intellectual thought and psychological self-portraiture.” Lopate does the essay proud. He is elegant in style and a real slugger when it comes to content. Perhaps this mixture of grace and toughness was forged in his rough 1950s childhood, during which he contended with poverty, anti-Semitism, bullies, and his own shortcomings in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Fort Greene, which he so vigorously chronicles in this ensnaring book’s most potent essays. Lopate is an ardent, shrewd urban chronicler, piquantly incisive in analyzing film and literature and unnervingly candid and combative in addressing intimate relationships, sexual performance, and his loving rivalry with his brother, Lenny, the well-known New York radio host. A voracious and exacting critic and passionate teacher (see his writer’s guide, To Show and to Tell) armed with caustic wit, “mistrust of transcendence,” and zest for provocation and self-exposure, Lopate confesses, “For it is only when writing that I begin to exist.” --Donna Seaman
“Immensely readable essays. . . As riveting as short stories, with arresting openings, sculptured scenes worthy of fiction, introspective passages fingering his own feelings, and haunting conclusions that resonate. . . .What holds it together is an engaging voice, the projection of a curious, appealingly modest, sometimes self-mocking character behind that voice, and the “the fluent play of a single consciousness.” He’s gifted at staging his inner conflicts, radiating intimacy without descending into the confessional. . . . [Lopate] remains “a storyteller at heart” who can liven up any subject with nimble anecdotes from his life. . . . Delightful.” (The New York Times Book Review)
"An engaging collection of personal essays. . . . [Lopate] draws you in, playcing you in his writing space, and you feel his impatience to get to the page and draw you into his mind and through his world." (San Francisco Book Review (4 stars))
"A connoisseur of the personal essay. . . [Lopate's] style and mileu are reminiscent of novels by Henry Roth and early Saul Bellow." (Christian Science Monitor)
"Phillip Lopate just may be the contemporary godfather of the personal essay, the scope and depth of his inner musings like those of a modern-day Montaigne....Over the course of his career, Lopate has set out to champion the essay as a conduit of human expression and companion to the mind at work. Portrait Inside My Head, a work of both charm and intellect, shows him to be a master of the form." (Harvard Review)
"Phillip Lopate is America's Montaigne, bringing the same sense of moderation, warmth, and curiousity to the personal essay." (Baltimore City Paper)
“Hilarious and tender… Meandering merrily along in the footsteps of the great classical essayists Montaigne and William Hazlitt, acclaimed cultural critic Lopate traipses breezily through family life and literary, cultural, social, and political matters…with his typical elegance and peripatetic curiosity.” (Publishers Weekly (starred review))
"Esteemed essayist and poet Lopate offers 'a motley collection of essays, personal and critical' . . . Readers are well-rewarded for his obsession." (Kirkus)
“Lopate does the essay proud. He is elegant in style and a real slugger when it comes to content….Lopate is an ardent, shrewd urban chronicler, piquantly incisive in analyzing film and literature and unnervingly candid and combative in addressing intimate relationships, sexual performance, and his loving rivalry with his brother, Lenny, the well-known New York radio host…[An] ensnaring book.” (Booklist)
“Phillip Lopate is one of the greatest essayists of our time, and Portrait Inside My Head proves it again. His writing is provocative, intimate, intellectually curious, clear-eyed, and funny as hell. He’s a fearless, exquisitely aware chronicler of thought and feeling. Being Phillip Lopate, he’d probably also be skeptical about so much praise, but in this case he’d be totally (tenderly, tragically) wrong.” (Sam Lipsyte author of The Ask and The Fun Parts)
“It’s impossible to overestimate how completely Phillip Lopate’s anthology The Art of the Personal Essay reframed and revivified the personal essay for contemporary American writers and readers. In his new collection of essays, Portrait Inside My Head, Lopate demonstrates his own immense virtues as an essayist--his ceaseless ability to “think against” himself." (David Shields author of How Literature Saved My Life)
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Sheri Nelson Maclean, The Woodlands, Texas
the finest example of urbane intelligence... the perfect New Yorker. Reading Lopate is like listening
to a close friend on a long and pleasant airplane trip.