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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
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    Being with Children

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    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.

    Notes on Sontag

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    Notes on Sontagis a frank, witty, and entertaining reflection on the work, influence, and personality of one of the "foremost interpreters of . . . our recent contemporary moment." Adopting Sontag's favorite form, a set of brief essays or notes that circle around a topic from different perspectives, renowned essayist Phillip Lopate considers the achievements and limitations of his tantalizing, daunting subject through what is fundamentally a conversation between two writers. Reactions to Sontag tend to be polarized, but Lopate's account of Sontag's significance to him and to the culture over which she loomed is neither hagiography nor hatchet job. Despite admiring and being inspired by her essays, he admits a persistent ambivalence about Sontag. Lopate also describes the figure she cut in person through a series of wry personal anecdotes of his encounters with her over the years. Setting out from middle-class California to invent herself as a European-style intellectual, Sontag raised the bar of critical discourse and offered up a model of a freethinking, imaginative, and sensual woman. But while crediting her successes, Lopate also looks at how her taste for aphorism and the radical high ground led her into exaggerations that could do violence to her own common sense, and how her ambition to be seen primarily as a novelist made her undervalue her brilliant essays. Honest yet sympathetic, Lopate's engaging evaluation reveals a Sontag who was both an original and very much a person of her time.

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