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Born in 1913 in Algeria, Albert Camus was a French novelist, dramatist, and essayist. He was deeply affected by the plight of the French during the Nazi occupation of World War II, who were subject to the military's arbitrary whims. He explored the existential…

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Born in 1875, the great German lyric poet Rainer Maria Rilke published his first collection of poems in 1898 and went on to become renowned for his delicate depiction of the workings of the human heart. Drawn by some sympathetic note in his poems, young people…

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Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an…

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For more than four hundred years, the personal  essay has been one of the richest and most vibrant  of all literary forms. Distinguished from the  detached formal essay by its friendly, conversational  tone, its loose…

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In the four and a half centuries since Machiavelli’s death, no single and unanimously accepted interpretation of his ideas has succeeded in imposing itself upon the lively debate over the meaning of his works. Yet there has never been any doubt about the…

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In the 1930s George Orwell was sent by a socialist book club to investigate the appalling mass unemployment in the industrial north of England. He went beyond his assignment to investigate the employed as well. Not one to observe from the sidelines, Orwell shared…

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Welcome to the hilarious, strange, elegiac, outrageous world of David Sedaris. In Naked, Sedaris turns the mania for memoir on its ear, mining the exceedingly rich terrain of his life, his family, and his unique worldview-a sensibility at once take-no-prisoners…

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Thoreau has inspired generations of readers to think for themselves and to find meaning and beauty in nature. This sampling includes five of his most frequently read and cited essays: "On the Duty of Civil Disobedience" (1849), "Life without Principle" (1863),…

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A companion volume to Illuminations , the first collection of Walter Benjamin's writings, Reflections presents a further sampling of his wide-ranging work. Here Benjamin evolves a theory of language as the medium of all creation, discusses theater and…

Dialogues And Letters

by C Seneca

|November 1, 1997

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Included in this volume are the dialogues On the Shortness of Life and On Tranquility of Mind , which are eloquent classic statements of Stoic ideals of fortitude and self-reliance. This selection also features extracts from Natural Questions , Seneca's…

Soap

by Francis Ponge

|July 1, 1998

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". . . And now, dear reader, for your intellectual toilet, here is a little piece of soap. Well handled, we guarantee it will be enough. Let us hold this magic stone." The poet Francis Ponge (1899-1988) occupied a significant and unchallenged place in French…

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New Yorker writer A.J. Liebling recalls his Parisian apprenticeship in the fine art of eating in this charming memoir.