The first historically and internationally comprehensive collection of its kind, Essayists on the Essay is a path breaking work that is nothing less than a richly varied source book for anyone interested in the theory, practice, and art of the essay. This unique work includes a selection of fifty distinctive pieces by American, Canadian, English, European, and South American essayists from Montaigne to the present-many of which have not previously been anthologised or translated-as well as a detailed bibliographical and thematic guide to hundreds of additional works about the essay.
From a buoyant introduction that provides a sweeping historical and analytic overview of essayists' thinking about their genre-a collective poetics of the essay-to the detailed head notes offering pointed information about both the essayists themselves and the anthologised selections, to the richly detailed bibliographic sections, Essayists on the Essay is essential to everyone who cares about the form.
This collection provides teachers, scholars, essayists, and readers with the materials they need to take a fresh look at this important but often overlooked form that has for too long been relegated to the role of service genre-used primarily to write about other more "literary" genres or to teach young people how to write. Here, in a single celebratory volume, are four centuries of commentary and theory reminding us of the essay's storied history, its international appeal, and its relationship not just with poetry and fiction but also with radio, film, video, and new media.
Carl H. Klaus, founding director of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, is professor emeritus at the University of Iowa and coeditor (with Patricia Hampl) of Sightline Books: The Iowa Series in Literary Nonfiction. His widely praised nonfiction includes most recently The Made-Up Self: Impersonation in the Personal Essay (Iowa, 2010), as well as My Vegetable Love (Iowa paperback 2000), its companion Weathering Winter (Iowa, 1997), Taking Retirement: A Beginner's Diary and Letters to Kate: Life after Life (Iowa, 2006). Ned Stuckey-French is an assistant professor in the Department of English at Florida State University. He is the author of The American Essay in the American Century, a study of personal essays, magazine culture and class construction. His reviews and critical work have appeared in journals such as American Literature, the CEA Critic, Modern Fiction Studies, middlebrow, culturefront, and the Iowa Review. He is the book review editor for Fourth Genre: Explorations in Nonfiction.