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“Over the years I have developed a distaste for the spectacle of joie de vivre, the knack of knowing how to live,” begins the title essay by Phillip Lopate. This rejoinder to the cult of hedonism and forced conviviality moves from a critique of the false sentimentalization of children and the elderly to a sardonic look at the social rite of the dinner party, on to a moving personal testament to the “hungry soul. ” Lopate’s special gift is his ability to give us not only sophisticated cultural commentary in a dazzling collection of essays but also to bring to his subjects an engaging honesty and openness that invite us to experience the world along with him. Also included here are Lopate’s inspiring account of his production of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya with a group of preadolescents, a look at the tradition of the personal essay, and a soul-searching piece on the suicide of a schoolteacher and its effect on his students and fellow teachers. By turns humorous, learned, celebratory, and elegiac, Lopate displays a keen intelligence and a flair for language that turn bits of common, everyday life into resonant narrative. This collection maintains a conversational charm while taking the contemporary personal essay to a new level of complexity and candor.
Wide-ranging selection of essays historical and contemporary writers.
Published in 1981, Bachelorhood was Lopate's personal experiences as an unmarried man in the big city. Specifically he explores four themes of bachelor life: relationships with women and love; the observer; friendship-with those both married and single; and the artist and thinking man. Entertaining, though provoking and occasionally even heartbreaking, Bachelorhood is a fantastic collection of essays.
From the man whose name is synonymous with the contemporary personal essay, Getting Personal is a rich and ambitious collection that spans Phillip Lopate's career as an essayist, teacher, film critic, father, son, and husband. Witty, insightful, deeply meditative, and self-revelatory, with his characteristic candor and curmudgeonly charm, he explores himself, his life, his family, his religion, and his friends.
From the man whose name is virtually synonymous with the contemporary personal essay, "Getting Personal" is a rich and ambitious collection that spans Phillip Lopate's career as an essayist, teacher, film critic, father, son and husband. Lauded as one of America's foremost essayists, a writer who was instrumental in focusing attention on the form, Lopate here admirably demonstrates the obligation to be engaging as well as honest. Witty, insightful, deeply meditative and self-revelatory, with his characteristic candor and curmudgeonly charm, he explores himself, his life, his family, his religion, and his friends. Organized in six parts and spanning childhood to middle age, these twenty-eight essays tell two stories: the story of Lopate's life and the development of his career as a writer; these essays celebrate the impressive range of his talent. Whether Lopate is examining the perils of living above your landlord, the glorious sweep of the Hudson from the George Washington Bridge, the difficulty of teaching gloomy Chekhov to children, or the lamentable collection of parts that comprise the portrait of his body, he is always thoughtful, wonderfully skeptical, and eloquently engaging. "Getting Personal" stands not only as a guide to Lopate's writing career, but also as an intellectual autobiography, rooted in his experience as one of America's most beloved and respected writers. Lopate is known for his exquisite taste in others essays and a probing revelatory style of his own.
Set against a vividly depicted background of fin de siécle New York, this novel centers on the conflict between a self-made millionaire and a fervent social revolutionary-a conflict in which a man of goodwill futilely attempts to act as a mediator, only to be forced himself into a crisis of conscience. Here we see William Dean Howells's grasp of the realities of the American experience in an age of emerging social struggle. His absolute determination to fairly represent every point of view is evident throughout this multifaceted work. Both a memorable portrait of an era and a profoundly moving study of human relationships, A Hazard of New Fortunes fully justifies Alfred Kazin's ranking of Howells as "the first great domestic novelist of American life."
Opposites attract, and Helmut Holk and Christine Arne, the appealing married couple at the center of this engrossing book by one of Germany's greatest novelists, could not be less alike. Christine is a serious soul from a devout background. She is brooding and beautiful and devoted to her husband and their two children. Helmut is lighthearted and pleasure-loving and largely content to defer to his wife's deeper feelings and better wisdom. They live in a beautiful large house overlooking the sea, which they built themselves, and have been happily married for twenty-three years--only of late a certain tension has crept into their dealings with each other. Little jokes, casual endearments, long-meditated plans: they all hit a raw nerve. How a couple can slowly drift apart, until one day they find themselves in a situation which is nothing they ever wished for but from which they cannot go back, is at the heart of this timeless story of everyday life. Theodor Fontane's great gift is to tell the story effectively in his characters' own words, listening to how they talk and fail to talk to each other, watching them turn away from their own true feelings as much as from each other. Irretrievable is a nuanced, affectionate, enormously sophisticated, and profoundly humane reckoning with the blindness of love.
In this stunning new collection of personal essays, distinguished author Phillip Lopate weaves together the colorful threads of a life well lived and brings us on an invigorating and thoughtful journey through memory, culture, parenthood, the trials of marriage both young and old, and an extraordinary look at New York's storied past and present. Opening with his family life, Lopate invites us first into his rough-and-tumble childhood on the streets of Brooklyn, learning the all-important art of cowardice. From there, he takes us to the ball game to discuss the trouble with ex-baseball fans; to high tea at the Plaza; to the theater to dissect Virginia Woolf 's opinion that film should keep its hands off literature; and to visit his brother, radio personality Leonard Lopate, offering a rare glimpse into the unique sibling rivalry between two men at the top of their fields. Throughout this rich, ambitious, deliciously readable collection, Lopate's easy, conversational style pushes his piercing insights to new depths, celebrating the life of the mind--its triumphs and limitations--and illuminating memories and feelings both distant and immediate. The result is a charming and spirited new book from the undisputed master of the form.
AN NYRB CLASSICS ORIGINAL Virginia Woolf called Max Beerbohm "the prince" of essayists, F. W. Dupee praised his "whim of iron" and "cleverness amounting to genius," while Beerbohm himself noted that "only the insane take themselves quite seriously." From his precocious debut as a dandy in 1890s Oxford until he put his pen aside in the aftermath of World War II, Beerbohm was recognized as an incomparable observer of modern life and an essayist whose voice was always and only his own. Here Phillip Lopate, one of the finest essayists of our day, has selected the finest of Beerbohm's essays. Whether writing about the vogue for Russian writers, laughter and philosophy, dandies, or George Bernard Shaw, Beerbohm is as unpredictable as he is unfailingly witty and wise. As Lopate writes, "Today . . . it becomes all the more necessary to ponder how Beerbohm performed the delicate operation of displaying so much personality without lapsing into sticky confession."
In this truly one-of-a-kind book, the author/narrator--a representative, in extremis, of contemporary American obsession with beauty, celebrity, transmitted image--finds himself suspended, fascinated, in the remoteness of our wall-to-wall mediascape. It is a remoteness that both perplexes and enthralls him. Through dazzling sleight of hand in which the public becomes private and the private becomes public, the entire book-clicking from confession to family-album photograph to family chronicle to sexual fantasy to pseudo-scholarly footnote to reportage to personal essay to stand-up comedy to cultural criticism to literary criticism to film criticism to prose-poem to litany to outtake-becomes both an anatomy of American culture and a searing self-portrait. David Shields reads his own life--reads our life--as if it were an allegory about remoteness and finds persuasive, hilarious, heartbreaking evidence wherever he goes.
Distinguished author Phillip Lopate, editor of the celebrated anthology The Art of the Personal Essay, is universally acclaimed as "one of our best personal essayists" (Dallas Morning News). Here, combining more than forty years of lessons from his storied career as a writer and professor, he brings us this highly anticipated nuts-and-bolts guide to writing literary nonfiction. A phenomenal master class shaped by Lopate's informative, accessible tone and immense gift for storytelling, To Show and To Tell reads like a long walk with a favorite professor--refreshing, insightful, and encouraging in often unexpected ways.FAs. An award-winning essayist and author himself, Lopate brings vividly into focus the true lifeblood of writing: exploration of one's innermost thoughts, feelings, and perceptions, and the art of thinking, engagingly, on the page. With his guidance, writers in every field and at every stage of their careers are certain to learn a thing or two.
East Side, West Side, from the Little Red Lighthouse to Battery Park City, the wonders of Manhattan's waterfront are both celebrated and secret-hidden in plain sight. In his brilliant exploration of this defining yet neglected shoreline, personal essayist Philip Lopate also recovers a part of the city's soul. A native New Yorker, Lopate has embraced Manhattan by walking every inch of its perimeter, telling stories on the way of pirates (Captain Kidd) and power brokers (Robert Moses), the lowly shipworm and Typhoid Mary, public housing in Harlem and the building of the Brooklyn Bridge. He evokes the magic of the once bustling old port from Melville's and Whitman's day to the era of the longshoremen in On the Waterfront, while appraising today's developers and environmental activists, and probing new plans for parks and pleasure domes with river views. Whether escorting us into unfamiliar, hazardous crannies or along a Beaux Arts esplanade, Waterfront is a grand literary ramble and defense of urban life by one of our most perceptive observers.
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