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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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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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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 my title I revive the word chrestomathy in its true sense of 'a collection of choice passages from an author or authors, ' and ignore the late edition of 'especially one complied to assist in the acquirement of a language.' In the latter significance the term…

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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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Providing a series of fascinating views of Imperial Rome, The Letters of the Younger Pliny also offer one of the fullest self-portraits to survive from classical times. Pliny's lively and very personal letters address an astonishing range of topics, from a…

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Saloon-keepers and street preachers, gypsies and steel-walking Mohawks, a bearded lady and a 93-year-old “seafoodetarian” who believes his specialized diet will keep him alive for another two decades. These are among the people that Joseph Mitchell…

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by Joseph Brodsky

|June 1, 1993

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In this brief, intense, gem-like book, equal parts extended autobiographical essay and prose poem, Brodsky turns his eye to the seductive and enigmatic city of Venice. A mosaic of 48 short chapters-each recalling a specific episode from one of his many visits…

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Composed during a critical time in the evolution of European intellectual life, the works of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327) are some of the most powerful medieval attempts to achieve a synthesis between ancient Greek thought and the Christian faith. Writing with…

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Reflections by the creator of the essay form display the humane, skeptical, humorous, and honest views of Montaigne, revealing his thoughts on sexuality, religion, cannibals, intellectuals, and other unexpected themes. Included are such celebrated works as "On…

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…