The Next American Essay by John D'Agata

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In The Next American Essay, John D'Agata takes a literary tour of lyric essays written by the masters of the craft. Beginning with 1975 and John McPhee's ingenious piece, "The Search for Marvin Gardens," D'Agata selects an example of creative nonfiction for each subsequent year. These essays are unrestrained, elusive, explosive, mysterious—a personal lingual playground. They encompass and illuminate culture, myth, history, romance, and sex. Each essay is a world of its own, a world so distinctive it resists definition.

Contributors include:

Sherman Alexie
David Antin
Jenny Boully
Anne Carson
Guy Davenport
Lydia Davis
Joan Didion
Annie Dillard
Thalia Field
Albert Goldbarth
Susan Griffin
Theresa Hak Kung Cha
Jamaica Kincaid
Wayne Koestenbaum
Barry Lopez
John McPhee
Carole Maso
Harry Mathews
Susan Mitchell
Fabio Morabito
Mary Ruefle
David Shields
Dennis Silk
Susan Sontag
Alexander Theroux
George W. S. Trow
David Foster Wallace
Eliot Weinberger
Joe Wenderoth
James Wright

About John D'Agata

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John D'Agata is the author Halls of Fame. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop, he holds M.F.A.s in both nonfiction and poetry and is currently editor of lyric essays for Seneca Review.
Published February 1, 2003 by Graywolf Press. 475 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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other choices falling into this category are Joan Didion’s “The White Album,” Susan Sontag’s “Unguided Tour,” Barry Lopez’s “The Raven,” Annie Dillard’s “Total Eclipse,” Alexander Theroux’s “Black,” and David Foster Wallace’s “Ticket to the Fair.” Some selections are fragmentary, such as Theresa ...

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Publishers Weekly

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D'Agata (Halls of Fame) avows love of the diversity of the essay form, and it is palpable on every page of this unique, esoteric, beautiful book.

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Project MUSE

As an editor of Seneca Review, and as an essayist in his own right (Halls of Fame), D'Agata has long been a proponent of what he calls "lyric essays," and while he includes many essays here that might count as lyric (focused on imagination, image, and the rapid movement of the mind), the book doe...

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