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Fortunately, when I worked with Joyce Carol Oates on The Best American Essays of the Century (that’s the last century, by the way), we weren’t restricted to ten selections. So to make my list of the top ten essays since 1950 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 1950 would feature some different writers.

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American essayists examine the political, the historical, and the literary; they investigate what it means to be an "American," ponder the means of creating independent and free citizens, discuss the nature of American literary form, and debate the place of religion in American society. The essay adopts myriad forms, from letters and speeches, to sermons and treatises. Famous American essays range from Thomas Paine's Common Sense and the Federalist Papers scribed by "Publius" (the pen name for Alexander Hamilton, John Jay, and James Madison), to Twain's incisive wit and Emerson and Thoreau's writings on nature and religion in the 19th century.

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(1835–1910). Twain was of course a popular novelist and a lecturer, but his essays—which often combined fictional and nonfictional elements, and so are sometimes difficult to categorize—displayed his deep talent as a humorist just as well as his other work did. Never limiting himself to short pieces, Twain engaged instead in a broad range of essay forms, from travel letters to memoirs to social and political commentary. Though some of his pieces Were journalistic and ephemeral, and others—especially later in his career—were polemical and pessimistic, what characterized almost all of his nonfiction work was not only humor but an interest in storytelling, whether a brief anecdote or a full-fledged account. Such a style complemented his skills as a lecturer—though they were much different skills from those of other popular American essayist-lecturers such as, for example, Emerson. For Twain, essays were about the “high and delicate art” or “how a story ought to be told.”
Literary essays by lesser-known writers had also taken their place in the American essay tradition in the early to mid-19th century, many of them under the intangible influence of Washington Irving. Soon after his success, American writers began to develop a faculty for the criticism of literature as well as its creation.

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Read the essay . (Note: the electronic version from Gourmet magazine’s archives differs from the essay that appears in The Best American Essays and in his book, Consider the Lobster.)This is a posthumous collection of essays and scholarly articles on theatre, literature, authors, works, and defining aspects of the American character as exhibited in classic American literature (e.g., Melville, Thoreau, Dickinson). The three “American Characteristics Essays” were first delivered as lectures in the 1959/1951 academic year at Harvard University when Wilder was the Charles Eliot Norton Professor of Poetry, and subsequently revised for publication in the Atlantic Monthly in 1952. Many studies of Wilder’s plays and novels have applied these analyses of American culture and literature to his own writing.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. Readers who’d like to see more of the best essays since 1950 should take a look at The Best American Essays of the Century (2000).Through the annual Department of Pennsylvania American Legion Essay scholarship contest, students are provided an opportunity to showcase their talents and abilities in English by using originality, accuracy and research as evidence, while learning that the responsibilities and duties of good citizenship can be both rewarding and fun. Brightest representatives of American essayists from the different historical periods:

Early American and Colonial Period: to 1776
Democratic Origins and Revolutionary Writers: 1776-1820
Romantic Period : 1820–1860
The Rise of Realism: 1860-1914
Modernism and Experimentation: 1914-1945
American Essay Writers of Postwar Period
Contemporary American Essayists Veteran fans of “The Best American Essays” series, which has been going a quarter of a century, already know the format. This year’s guest editor is . Hitchens, like many readers, mentions that he first encountered the essay in its most boring of forms – as one of those dreary compositions assigned in grade school. But Hitchens quickly adds that the very word “essay” has the power to thrill, suggesting as it does a trial or experiment.Alysoun poem analysis essays buchenwald camp essay essay about lifetime goals parts alcina handel analysis essay 4 texts on socrates apology essay .
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Ancestors peter skrzynecki essay writing why we love horror movies essays passion death and resurrection of jesus reflection essay ray poynter the handbook of online and social media research papers short essay fight against corruption quote konstantin koll dissertation abstracts dramatic irony in oedipus essay tod papageorge essay on influencesAll of this shoptalk in “Best American Essays 2010” can seem a little self-referential, like one of those closed literary communities in which modern poets spend so much of their time writing about other poets.