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The Art of the Essay:
Now in its third year, this annual collection presents the most notable, influential, and surprising essays published in the last twelve months in either books or periodicals throughout the English-speaking world. Selected with consummate taste and a catholic openness to style and subject matter by famed essayist, critic, and editor, Phillip Lopate, the 1999 edition demonstrates that the form continues its renaissance as an unrivaled vehicle of intelligence and sensibility.
For this edition, Lopate has paired his tewnty-eight selections by topic, which offers suprising parallels and divergences in points of view. Andre Dubus and Tom Beller on apprentice work as a form of true experience; Richard Rorty and George Packer on the quixotic and often self-defeating character of the American left; Siri Hustvedt and Wayne Koestenbaum on the verities of erotic experience; Bliss Broyard and M. G. Stephens on their fathers; Marcus Laffey and Charles Bowden on violence, crime, and police work; Susan Sontag and Martha Nussbaum on the necessity and consolation of art--these are just some of the peerless practitioners of the essay featured in this superb collection.
All of this exciting new work is placed in context by an equally superb introductory essay by Lopate. A special feature of this 1999 edition is an appendix in which literary and intellectual notables nominate their selections of the best and most influential essays and essayists of the century. This prestigious Anchor annual is more than ever an unequaled showcase for an indispensable and ever-changing literary form. [via]