"An essay," claims Cynthia Ozick, "is a thing of the imagination...A genuine essay has no educational, polemical, or sociopolitical use; it is movement of a free mind at play." Essays, like the award-winning short stories and novels, she is known for, are imaginative and aesthetic experiments — in other words, literature — not position papers. Born (1928) in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, Ozick grew up in the atmosphere of a family-operated drugstore. After receiving her B.A. at New York University in 1949 and a year later an M.A. at Ohio State, Ozick called it quits with academic life and set out to take lessons from her master, Henry James, in the demanding art of fiction. Her first novel, Trust, appeared in 1966 and was followed by several volumes of short fiction and three more novels, The Cannibal Galaxy (1983), The Messiah of Stockholm (1987), and The Puttermesser Papers (1997). Her personal and literary essays appear in four collections: Art & Ardor (1983), Metaphor & Memory (1989), Fame & Folly (1986), and Quarrel & Quandary (2000). She is also the author of two essay collections on writing, What Henry James Knew (1993) and Portrait of the Artist as a Bad Character (1996). Ozick was guest editor of The Best American Essay of 1998.
- p. 584, The Best American Essays of the Century.
- Back Cover, The Best American Essays 1998.
CYNTHIA OZICK is the author of two novels, Trust and The Cannibal Galazy, and several collections: The Pagan Rabbi and Other Stories, Bloodshed and Three Novellas, and Levitation: Five Fictions. She has published Art & Ardor Essays and is currently at work on a novel.
- p. 284-5, The Best American Essays 1986.