Hugh Gallagher won first prize in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards for the following essay. He allegedly used it to get into NYU and graduated from the university in To call his work humorous is an understatement to say the least via Educated Nationthanks Robert.
Links to the essays are provided when available. So to make my list of the top ten essays since less impossible, I decided to exclude all the great examples of New Journalism--Tom Wolfe, Gay Talese, Michael Herr, and many others can be reserved for another list.
I also decided to include only American writers, so such outstanding English-language essayists as Chris Arthur and Tim Robinson are missing, though they have appeared in The Best American Essays series.
And I selected essays, not essayists. A list of the top ten essayists since would feature some different writers. And the best essays show that the name of the genre is also a verb, so they demonstrate a mind in process--reflecting, trying-out, essaying.
Against a violent historical background, Baldwin recalls his deeply troubled relationship with his father and explores his growing awareness of himself as a black American. However you view the racial politics, the prose is undeniably hypnotic, beautifully modulated and yet full of urgency.
Norman Mailer, "The White Negro" originally appeared in Dissent, An essay that packed an enormous wallop at the time may make some of us cringe today with its hyperbolic dialectics and hyperventilated metaphysics.
Odd, how terms can bounce back into life with an entirely different set of connotations.
What might Mailer call the new hipsters? Read the essay here. I was familiar with it as an undergraduate, hearing it used often by a set of friends, department store window decorators in Manhattan. But after Sontag unpacked the concept, with the help of Oscar Wilde, I began to see the cultural world in a different light.
I roll the dice—a six and a two. Through the air I move my token, the flatiron, to Vermont Avenue, where dog packs range.
As the games progress and as properties are rapidly snapped up, McPhee juxtaposes the well-known sites on the board—Atlantic Avenue, Park Place—with actual visits to their crumbling locations.
He goes to jail, not just in the game but in fact, portraying what life has now become in a city that in better days was a Boardwalk Empire. The essay was collected in Pieces of the Frame Read the essay here subscription required.
I might have found such writing several decades earlier but in the 80s it was relatively rare; Lopate had found a creative way to insert the old familiar essay into the contemporary world: When writing a true story based on actual events, how does the narrator create dramatic tension when most readers can be expected to know what happens in the end?
I wish I could include twenty more essays but these ten in themselves comprise a wonderful and wide-ranging mini-anthology, one that showcases some of the most outstanding literary voices of our time.Ivy Coach College Admissions Blog "Way to tell it like it is, Ivy Coach" - The Dartmouth.
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Here’s an oldie but goodie. Hugh Gallagher won first prize in the humor category of the Scholastic Writing Awards for the following essay. Must-read articles and essays by famous writers - the best examples of short articles and essays to read online - our all-time favourite longform articles.
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