The Norton Book of Personal Essays by Joseph Epstein

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Synopsis

Some fifty of the finest personal essays selected by the man often hailed as the "premier essayist of our time."

In this anthology of twentieth-century essays, some of our most-admired American and British writers express their lively, candid, entertaining, thoughtful, and--above all--various opinions. Topics range from Tangier to a lake in Maine, from racial conflict to sky diving, from the expectations we bring to travel to the athletics of the table. The essays are selected and introduced by Joseph Epstein, himself a leading contemporary practitioner of the form. Most prominent in each essay is the distinctive style of the essayist; style, as Epstein points out in his introduction, is not only what keeps literature alive but also a personal way of looking at the world.

Blending the profound and the buoyant, the traditional and the new, the expected and the surprising, The Norton Book of Personal Essays offers a basketful of delights sure to find a permanent place on readers' shelves. Mark Twain, Max Beerbohm, Virginia Woolf, Willa Cather, M. F. K. Fisher, F. Scott Fitzgerald, E. B. White, Oliver Sacks, H. L. Mencken, Truman Capote, and Flannery O'Connor are among the contributors to this volume. The chief principle of selection has been the pleasure that essays, operating at their highest power, always give.
 

About Joseph Epstein

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Joseph Epstein has been the editor of the American Scholar since 1975. His own books of essays include The Middle of My Tether , Once More Around the Block , A Line Out for a Walk , Pertinent Players , and With My Trousers Rolled (all published by Norton). He was guest editor for Best American Essays (1993) and teaches at Northwestern University. He lives in Evanston, Illinois.
 
Published March 17, 1997 by W. W. Norton & Company. 480 pages
Genres: Political & Social Sciences, Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

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In his introduction, Epstein contends that ""whatever the ostensible subject of a personal essay, at bottom the true subject is the author of the essay."" Maybe so, but the degree to which this is true varies greatly in this 53-piece collection.

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