Authors and Links

This is a reference page. I’ve tried to cover most really well-known essayists, past and present, but I’m sure I've missed plenty, and of course there are a ton of excellent not-so-famous essayists that I don't even know about. I've love help adding to the list.

I’m working on getting links and descriptions of these.

My personal favorites:
Introductions to each "Best American Essay Volumes."
Anne Fadiman, distinguishing the personal essay and the familiar essay.
Adam Gopnik
Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli.
Abstract only:
Stephanie Johnson's Caribou
Fourth State of Matter
David Sedaris
Brian Doyle
Zadie Smith
David Foster Wallace
Anders Monson
Patricia Hampl
Andrew Aciman: Lavender
And yet, for all I know, everything could start all over again—my father, my mother, the girl with the perfumed wrist, Frau Noch Einmal, her little boy, my little boy, myself as a little boy, the walk in the evening snow, the genie in the bottle, the Rosetta stone within each one of us which no one, not even love or friendship, can unburden, the life we think of each day, and the life not lived, and the life half lived, and the life we wish we’d learn to live while we still have time, and the life we want to rewrite if only we could, and the life we know remains unwritten and may never be written at all, and the life we hope others may live far better than we have, all of it, for all I know, braided on one thread into which is spun something as simple as the desire to be one with the world, to find something instead of nothing, and having found something, never to let go, be it even a stalk of lavender.

Other famous and talented essayists:

Cynthia Ozick
Nora Ephron
Joan Didion
E. B. White--once more to the lake
Wendell Berry
Edmund Wilson
William Hazlitt
Joni Tevis--holding things up and comparing them.
Virginia Woolf--moth
Francis Bacon, On Beauty

Articles on the Essay:
The disjointed form
The back page column
The lyric essay
The matching up of two seemingly unrelated subjects (overlaps with the disjointed essay)
The Aha! Moment (often used in a column)
The conceptual/experimental essay
Memoir as essay
Literary review as essay
The radio essay---450 word commentaries, This American Life.

In Fact
Norton Anthology of Personal Essays
Best American Essays---My favorite is the 2003 edition. It was edited by Anne Fadiman and has Adam Gopnik's "Bumping Into Mr. Ravioli" and Donald Antrim's "I bought a bed" plus lots of other good stuff. You can get it used on amazon. The other Best American Essays can be hit or miss for me.
The Art of the Personal Essay--Lopate


Creative Nonfiction
The American Scholar