The Making of the American Essay
- “Quixotic . . . ambitious. . . . What D’Agata has in mind, on one level, is to push the conversation, to throw a thought-bomb into the center of the room.”—David Ulin, Literary Hub
Across the anthologies, D’Agata’s introductions to each selection—intimate and brilliantly provocative throughout—serve as an extended treatise, collectively forming the backbone of the trilogy. He uncovers new stories in the American essay’s past, and shows us that some of the most fiercely daring writers in the American literary canon have turned to the essay in order to produce our culture’s most exhilarating art.
The Making of the American Essay offers the essay at its most varied, unique, and imaginative best, proving that the impulse to make essays in America is as old and as original as the nation itself.
- “D’Agata’s conception of the essay responds directly to a post-Google age. . . . What makes the essay hum, for D’Agata, is its ability to go beyond mere reportage, to exist ‘between chance and contrivance, between the given and the made.’”—Los Angeles Times
- “D’Agata’s pioneering spirit in these volumes offers one of the most broadminded views of creative nonfiction in the persona of the essay.”—Signature Reads
- “The concluding volume of D’Agata’s massive trilogy of anthologies on the nonfiction form showcases a remarkable array of writers from Anne Bradstreet to Kathy Acker.”—Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel
“I would say that out of the twenty some years I’ve been doing this show there are few books that I’m certain will be read well beyond the show’s lifetime, and it’s been an honor to be associated with them.”—Michael Silverblatt, KCRW’s Bookworm