The Best American Essays 1986

Edited and with an Introduction by Elizabeth Hardwick
Robert Atwan, Series Editor
 
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If there is any literary form that beckons irresistibly to nearly every writer at one time or another, it is the essay.

The Best American Essays 1986 celebrates the essay in all its tremendous variety—from personal reminiscence to popular science. With selections from a wide range of popular periodicals and small publications, this inaugural volume features many eminent practitioners of the art alongside some fresh new voices just awaiting discovery.

Elizabeth Hardwick has chosen the essays here with a keen sense of their variety and enduring value. As eclectic as it is entertaining, The Best American Essays 1986 abounds with talent and vitality.

Copyright © 1986 by Ticknor & Fields
ISBN 0-89919-474-5


Contents


Foreword by Robert Atwan   ix

Introduction by Elizabeth Hardwick   xiii

Julian Barnes.   THE FOLLIES OF WRITER WORSHIP   1
   from The New York Times Book Review

Donald Barthelme.   NOT-KNOWING   9
   from The Georgia Review

Joseph Brodsky.   FLIGHT  FROM BYZANTIUM   25
   from The New Yorker

Alexander Cockburn.   HEATHERDOWN: A LATE IMPERIALIST MEMOIR   66
   from Grand Street

Gerald Early.   THE PASSING OF JAZZ'S OLD GUARD: REMEMBERING CHARLES MINGUS, THELONIOUS MONK, AND SONNY STITT   93
   from The Kenyon Review

Kai Erikson.   OF ACCIDENTAL JUDGMENTS AND CASUAL SLAUGHTERS   116
   from The Nation

Robert Fitzgerald.   WHEN THE COCKROACH STOOD BY THE MICKLE WOOD   130
   from The Yale Review

William Gass.   CHINA STILL LIFES   152
   from House & Garden

Stephen Jay Gould.   NASTY LITTLE FACTS   161
   from Natural History

Anne Hollander.   DRESSED TO THRILL   174
   from The New Republic

George F. Kennan.   MORALITY AND FOREIGN POLICY   188
   from Foreign Affairs

Joyce Carol Oates.   ON BOXING   204
   from The New York Times Magazine

Cynthia Ozick.   THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL: WASHINGTON SQUARE, 1946   219
   from Harper's Magazine

Edward Rothstein.   THE BODY OF BACK   227
   from The New Republic

Frederick Turner.   VISIONS OF THE PACIFIC   240
   from Southwest Review

Gore Vidal.   ON ITALO CALVINO   254
   from The New York Review of Books

John Wain.   JULIA   268
   from The American Scholar

Biographical Notes     283

Notable Essays of 1985     287

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