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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