Saturday, December 29, 2012

Best Essays of the Last Sixty Years

I am not a big fan of end of the year lists and I try to avoid them here at The Way of Improvement Leads Home, but I found this list of the "best essays since 1950" to be worthy of a post.  The list was created by Robert Atwan, the founder of the Best American Essays series.

Here they are, by date of publication:

James Baldwin, "Notes of a Native Son" (1955)

Norman Mailer, "The White Negro" (1957)

Susan Sontag, "Notes on 'Camp'" (1964)

John McPhee, "The Search for Marvin Gardens" (1972)

Joan Didion, "The White Album" (1979)

Annie Dillard, "Total Eclipse" (1982)

Philip Lopate, "Against Joie de Vivre" (1986)

Edward Hoagland, "Heaven and Nature" (1988)

Jo Ann Beard, "The Fourth State of Matter" (1996)

David Foster Wallace, "Consider the Lobster" (2004)

Read Atwan's commentary on each essay here.