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The Art of the Personal Essay

An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

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Paperback published by Anchor (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
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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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.
Product Details
Paperback (832 pages)
Published: January 15, 1997
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Anchor
ISBN: 9780385423397
Other books byPhillip Lopate
  • Portrait Inside My Head

    Portrait Inside My Head
    Essays
    In this stunning new collection of personal essays, distinguished author Phillip Lopate weaves together the colorful threads of a life well lived and brings us on an invigorating and thoughtful journey through memory, culture, parenthood, the trials of marriage both young and old, and an extraordinary look at New York’s storied past and present. Opening with his family life, Lopate invites us first into his rough-and-tumble childhood on the streets of Brooklyn, learning the all-important art of cowardice. From there, he takes us to the ball game to discuss the trouble with ex–baseball fans; to high tea at the Plaza; to the theater to dissect Virginia Woolf ’s opinion that  film should keep its hands off literature; and to visit his brother, radio personality Leonard Lopate, offering a rare glimpse into the unique sibling rivalry between two men at the top of their fields. Throughout this rich, ambitious, deliciously readable collection, Lopate’s easy, conversational style pushes his piercing insights to new depths, celebrating the life of the mind—its triumphs and limitations—and illuminating memories and feelings both distant and immediate. The result is a charming and spirited new book from the undisputed master of the form.

    Portrait of My Body

    Portrait of My Body
    Phillip Lopate's richest and most ambitious book  yet--the final volume of a trilogy that began with  Bachelorhood and Against  Joie de Vivre--Portrait of My  Body is a powerful memoir in the form of  interconnected personal essays. One of America's  foremost essayists, who helped focus attention on  the form in his acclaimed anthology The  Art of the Personal Essay, Lopate  demonstrates here just how far a writer can go in the  direction of honesty and risk  taking. In thirteen essays, Lopate explores the  resources and limits of the self, its many disguises,  excuses, and unmaskings, with his characteristic  wry humor and insight. From the title essay, a  hilarious physical self-exam, to the haunting  portrait of his ex-colleague Donald Barthelme, to the  bittersweet account of his long-delayed surrender  to marriage, "On Leaving Bachelorhood,"  Lopate wrestles with finding the proper balance  between detachment and empathy, doubt and  conviction. In other essays, he celebrates his love of  film and city life, and reflects on his religious  identity as a Jew. A wrenchingly vivid,  unforgettable portrait of the author's eccentric,  solipsistic, aged father, a self-proclaimed failure, is  the centerpiece of a suite of essays about  father-figures and resisted mentors. The book ends with  the author's own introduction to fatherhood, as  witness to the birth of his daughter.   A book that will engage readers with its  conversational eloquence, skeptical intelligence,  candor, and mischief, Portrait of My  Body is a captivating work of literary  nonfiction.

    Being with Children

    Being with Children
    A High-Spirited Personal Account of Teaching...
    In the 1960s, prize-winning writer Philip Lopate went into an urban school to teach poetry and became a part of the school community. Being with Children, first published in 1975 but out of print for many years, is Lopate's classic account of his relationship to his craft and to his young students. Here, Lopate explores the horrible and beautiful aspects of being with young people five hours a day, and explains why teachers persist in staying with the public schools and trying to make them into places where young people can flower.

    Bridge of Dreams

    Bridge of Dreams
    The Rebirth of the Brooklyn Bridge
    The Brooklyn Bridge is one of the architectural and engineering wonders of the world.

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