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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present
Author: Lopate - Phillip
ISBN 13: 9780385423397
ISBN 10: 38542339
Edition: N/A
Publisher: Anchor
Publication Date: N/A
Format: N/A
Pages: N/A
List Price: N/A

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.

Library Journal

Essayist Lopate ( Against Joie de Vivre , Poseidon Pr., 1991, among others) has selected and introduced some 75 personal essays, covering over 400 years, from the East as well as the West, in an attempt to show the development of the genre. The result is a fascinating overview that could be useful in teaching situations. Given the personal nature of the pieces, it may also appeal to general readers who enjoy biography and autobiography. Lopate considers the personal essay to be a sort of friendship based on ``the supposition that there is a certain unity to human experience.'' He devotes extensive space to Montaigne, ``the patron saint of personal essayists,'' but we also hear from unfamiliar voices, such as a tenth-century Japanese court lady, and from special branches of the essay, such as the American humorists. Of interest to both academic and public libraries.-- Nancy Shires, East Carolina Univ., Greenville, N.C.