The Next American Essay

The Next American Essay
Edited by John D'Agata

“Readers, listen up, then: Here is a book that makes some beautiful music.”Publishers Weekly, starred review

“A genuinely exhilarating work of literary history.”—Booklist

About the Book

A rich and varied anthology of lyric essays by some of America's most daring and exciting writers
In this singular collection, John D'Agata takes a literary tour of lyric essays written by the masters of the craft. Beginning with 1975 and John McPhee's ingenious piece, "The Search for Marvin Gardens," D'Agata selects an example of creative nonfiction for each subsequent year. These essays are unrestrained, elusive, explosive, mysterious—a personal lingual playground. They encompass and illuminate culture, myth, history, romance, and sex. Each essay is a world of its own, a world so distinctive it resists definition.

Contributors include:

Sherman Alexie
David Antin
Jenny Boully
Anne Carson
Guy Davenport
Lydia Davis
Joan Didion
Annie Dillard
Thalia Field
Albert Goldbarth
Susan Griffin
Theresa Hak Kung Cha
Jamaica Kincaid
Wayne Koestenbaum
Barry Lopez
John McPhee
Carole Maso
Harry Mathews
Susan Mitchell
Fabio Morabito
Mary Ruefle
David Shields
Dennis Silk
Susan Sontag
Alexander Theroux
George W. S. Trow
David Foster Wallace
Eliot Weinberger
Joe Wenderoth
James Wright

Additional Reviews

"D'Agata's collection raises a lot of new questions about the essay, and in doing so piques our interest in the genre. It's difficult to think of a nobler, more worthwhile achievement for a literary anthology."Rain Taxi Review of Books

“[T]his book shows what the essay is and what, with any luck, it will be. The collection is full of pleasures and surprises, the most stunning of which is the ongoing essay by D’Agata himself—he transforms a mere anthology into the living biography of an art form.”—Michael Silverblatt, “Bookworm,” Public Radio