October 13, 2012

Wrote a bit about this too–thanks Dinty!

BREVITY's Nonfiction Blog

Robert Atwan has assembled a list of the top ten essays since 1950 for Publisher’s Weekly to mark the release of The Best American Essays 2012.  Is it exactly the list we would have assembled? No, because we would have picked seven Brevity essays and then Baldwin, Didion, and perhaps Lopate, but that’s just hometown pride. In truth, Atwan has done a remarkable job, and the list is a great place to start a discussion, or even a class.

In addition to the useful list, Atwan gives us a brief explanation of why the essays matters. Here he is on Baldwin, followed by a link to the entire article:

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son” (originally appeared in Harper’s, 1955)

“I had never thought of myself as an essayist,” wrote James Baldwin, who was finishing his novel Giovanni’s Room while he worked on what would become one of the great American essays. Against a violent historical background, Baldwin recalls his…

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