Resources on the Personal Essay
If you are unfamiliar with the personal essay, here are just a few resources to help you to get better acquainted:
Phillip Lopate (ed.). The Art of the Personal Essay: an anthology from the classical era to the present. New York: Anchor Books, 1994.
- Lopate’s introduction, which discusses various characteristics of the personal essay genre, is very good.
John Gross (ed.). The Oxford Book of Essays. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1991.
- A nice overview of classic essays.
John D’Agata (ed.). The Lost Origins of the Essay. St. Paul: Graywolf Press, 2009.
- D’Agata explores the margins of the essay. You may not agree that some pieces are essays at all, but the collection does offer an interesting perspective on the genre.
- Quotidiana is an online anthology of classic essays, from antiquity to the early twentieth century.
The Inspiration for Modern Essayists
Michel de Montaigne. The Complete Works.Translated by Donald M. Frame. New York: Everyman’s Library, 2003.
- Montaigne’s Essais in the original French: http://www.lib.uchicago.edu/efts/ARTFL/projects/montaigne/
- English translation by Charles Cotton (first published 1685-1686), edited by William Carew Hazlitt:
A Few Examples of Recent Essay Collections
(more to come)
Anne Fadiman. At Large and At Small. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.
Joseph Epstein. Narcissus Leaves the Pool: familiar essays. Boston: Mariner Books, 2007 (first published 1999).
Patrick Madden. Quotidiana. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2010.
E. B. White. "An Approach to Style.." In The Elements of Style. Fourth edition. By William Strunk and E. B. White. New York: Longman, 2000. pp. 66-85.
Joseph M. Williams. Style: toward clarity and grace. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990.