Narcissus Leaves the Pool by Joseph Epstein
Familiar Essays

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Joseph Epstein's sixth collection of personal pieces winningly and brilliantly rounds off his twenty-three-year tenure as editor of The American Scholar. "The trick with these essays," he recently wrote, "is to take what seems a small or mildly amusing subject and open it up, allow it to exfoliate, so that by the end something arises that might be larger and more intricate than anyone -- including the author -- had expected." Among the things that arise here are naps, Gershwin, aging, name-dropping, long books, pet peeves, talent vs. genius, Anglophilia, and surgery -- the head and the heart.

About Joseph Epstein

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JOSEPH EPSTEIN is the author of the best-selling Snobbery and of Friendship, among other books, and was formerly editor of the American Scholar. His work has appeared in The New Yorker, Harper’s Magazine, the Atlantic Monthly, and other magazines. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
Published May 14, 1999 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. 321 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Fiction

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Epstein’s lightly worn seriousness, as well as his gift for self deflation and deft way with quotations, distinguish him from the Andy Rooney—Charles Osgood school of commentating when he tackles such finical matters as snoozing (“The Art of the Nap”), the over-knowledgeable classes (“An Extremel...

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