Best of
Essays

1982

Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters


Annie Dillard - 1982
    Here, in this compelling assembly of writings, Pulitzer Prize-winning author Annie Dillard explores the world of natural facts and human meanings.

The Dialogic Imagination: Four Essays


Mikhail Bakhtin - 1982
    The Dialogic Imagination presents, in superb English translation, four selections from Voprosy literatury i estetiki (Problems of literature and esthetics), published in Moscow in 1975. The volume also contains a lengthy introduction to Bakhtin and his thought and a glossary of terminology.Bakhtin uses the category "novel" in a highly idiosyncratic way, claiming for it vastly larger territory than has been traditionally accepted. For him, the novel is not so much a genre as it is a force, "novelness," which he discusses in "From the Prehistory of Novelistic Discourse." Two essays, "Epic and Novel" and "Forms of Time and of the Chronotope in the Novel," deal with literary history in Bakhtin's own unorthodox way. In the final essay, he discusses literature and language in general, which he sees as stratified, constantly changing systems of subgenres, dialects, and fragmented "languages" in battle with one another.

Down the River


Edward Abbey - 1982
    "For 23 years now I've been floating rivers. Always downstream, the easy and natural way. The way Huck Finn and Jim did it, LaSalle and Marquette, the mountain men, and Major Powell."

The Gift of Good Land: Further Essays Cultural and Agricultural


Wendell Berry - 1982
    To touch one, he shows, is to tamper with them all.Here he continues issues first raised in The Unsettling of America; the problems addressed there are still with us and the solutions no nearer to hand, Mr. Berry writes of his journeys to the highlands of Peru, the deserts of southern Arizona, and the Amish country to study traditional agricultural practices. He writes of homesteading, tools and their uses, horses and tractors, family work, land reclamation, diversified land use.In the title essay Mr. Berry draws parallels between the Christian notion of stewardship and the Buddhist doctrine of "right livelihood." He develops the compelling argument that the "gift" of good land has strings attached: the recipient has it only as long as he practices responsible stewardship.

Stalking the Nightmare


Harlan Ellison - 1982
    (1957)The 3 Most Important Things in Life (Scenes from the Real World #1) (1978) • essayVisionary (1959) / Harlan Ellison and Joe L. HensleyDjinn, No Chaser (1982)Invasion Footnote (1957)Saturn, November 11th (Scenes from the Real World #2) (1981) • essayNight of Black Glass (1981)Final Trophy (1957)!!!The!!Teddy!Crazy!!Show!!! (1968)The Cheese Stands Alone (1982)Somehow, I Don't Think We're in Kansas, Toto (Scenes from the Real World #3) (1974) • essayTranscending Destiny (1957)The Hour That Stretches (1982)The Day I Died (1973) • essayTracking Level (1956)Tiny Ally (1957)The Goddess in the Ice (1967)Gopher in the Gilly (Scenes from the Real World #4) (1982) • essay

Another Way of Telling


John Berger - 1982
    All photographs have the status of fact. What is to be examined is in what way photography can and cannot give meaning to facts." With these words, two of our most thoughtful and eloquent interrogators of the visual offer a singular meditation on the ambiguities of what is seemingly our straightforward art form.   As constructed by John Berger and the renowned Swiss photographer Jean Mohr, that theory includes images as well as words; not only analysis, but anecdote and memoir. Another Way of Telling explores the tension between the photographer and the photographed, between the picture and its viewers, between the filmed moment and the memories that it so resembles. Combining the moral vision of the critic and the pratical engagement of the photgrapher, Berger and Mohr have produced a work that expands the frontiers of criticism first charged by Walter Benjamin, Roland Barthes, and Susan Sontag.

They Tore Out My Heart and Stomped That Sucker Flat


Lewis Grizzard - 1982
    Without skipping a beat, one of America's favorite humorists, the late Lewis Grizzard, tells of the early stirrings of his wayward heart in the backseat of a '57 Chevy and the ominous murmurings that led him at age thirty-five to major surgery and the real answer to his question, "How much is this going to hurt?" In the process he discovers all the ways a heart can break. Young love. Three marriages. His father's death. And why his entire future suddenly depended on a little pig. He tells the truth -- the whole truth -- the kind that has readers laughing through their tears. United Press International said, "It makes you feel good to know a person can face the tubes, wires, knives and needles of major heart surgery and make you laugh about it -- hilarious!"

Time and the Art of Living


Robert Grudin - 1982
    It's about memory of the past, hope and fear for the future, and how they color, for better and for worse, one's experience of the present. Ultimately, it's a book about freedom--freedom from despair of the clock, of the aging body, of the seeming waste of one's daily routine, the freedom that comes with acceptance and appreciation of the human dimensions of time and of the place of each passing moment on life's bounteous continuum. For Robert Grudin, living is an art, and cultivating a creative partnership with time is one of the keys to mastering it. In a series of wise, witty, and playful meditations, he suggests that happiness lies not in the effort to conquer time but rather in learning "to bend to its curve," in hearing its music and learning to dance to it. Grudin offers practical advice and mental exercises designed to help the reader use time more effectively, but this is no ordinary self-help book. It is instead a kind of wisdom literature, a guide to life, a feast for the mind and for the spirit.

Borges at Eighty: Conversations


Jorge Luis Borges - 1982
    His stories often read like thoughtful essays, his essays like poems, and his poems like brief narrations. Borges in conversation similarly transcends and transmutes our expectations of the ordinary colloquy. In the wide-ranging dialogues presented in this volume, the author's thoughts are evoked through the perceptive questioning of Willis Barnstone, John Coleman, Alastair Reid, Dick Cavett, and others. The resulting interplay between Borges and his interview2ers makes fascinating reading, revealing him as perhaps the premier conversationalist of our time. Borges chats intimately with his audience. "A crowd is an illusion... I am talking to you personally," he tells one group. Candor, wit, and humorous self-disparagement mark his responses, as do the Socratic qualities of profound yet amusing meditation and retort. "When I wake up," he informs us, "I wake to something worse. It's the astonishment of being myself." With the haunting resonance and structure of a fugue, the pervasive themes of Borges' works (or "exercises" as he chooses to call them) are woven throughout these evocative conversations. The nightmares, labyrinths, mazes, and mystic experiences that are part of Borges' creative mythology similarly loom large in his conversations. Revealed here are the interests that have continued to engage the writer-Old English and Old Norse sagas, his favorite authors (notably Whitman, Poe, and Emerson), the Kabbalah-as well as his feeling of what it is like to be blind, and now, in his eighties, his thoughts on death. A dozen of Borges' poems are reproduced, both in Spanish and in English translation, followed by remarks on how he came to write them and what they mean. Willis Barnstone's remarkable photographs complete the sensitive word portrait that emerges in Borges at Eighty: Conversations.

How Life Imitates the World Series


Thomas Boswell - 1982
    The first book from the Washington Post's great baseball writer.

Standing by Words


Wendell Berry - 1982
    From the essay, Standing by Words, Berry writes, “Two epidemic illnesses of our time—upon both of which virtual industries of cures have been founded—are the disintegration of communities and the disintegration of persons. That these two are related (that private loneliness, for example, will necessarily accompany public confusion) is clear enough. What seems not so well understood, because not so much examined, is the relation between these disintegrations and the disintegration of language. My impression is that we have seen, for perhaps a hundred and fifty years, a gradual increase in language that is either meaningless or destructive of meaning. And I believe that this increasing unreliability of language parallels the increasing disintegration, over the same period, of persons and communities.” Out-of-print for more than fifteen years, Standing by Words offers a masterfully written argument for the literary tradition.

The Portable Conservative Reader


Russell Kirk - 1982
    This is a book.

A Susan Sontag Reader


Susan Sontag - 1982
    She has become our most important critic, while her brilliant novels and short fiction are, at long last, getting the recognition they deserve. Sontag is above all a writer, which is only to say that, though the form may differ, there is an essential unity in all her work. The truth of this is perhaps more evident in A Susan Sontag Reader than in any of Sontag's individual books. The writer selected a sampling of her work, meaning the choice both to reflect accurately a career and also to guide the reader toward those qualities and concerns which she prizes in her own writing.  A Susan Sontag Reader is arranged chronologically and draws on most of Sontag's books. There are selections from her two novels, The Benefactor and Death Kit,  and from her collections of short stories, I, etcetera. The famous essays from the 1960s--"Against Interpretation," "Notes on Camp," and "On Style"--which established Sontag's reputation and can be fairly said to have shaped the cultural views of a generation are included, as are selctions from her two subsequent volumes of essays, Styles of Radical Will and Under the Sign of Satury. A part of Sontag's best-selling On Photography is also included.  It is astonishing to read these works when they are detached from the books they appeared in and offered instead in the order in which Sontag wrote them. The connections between various literary forms, the progression of themes, are revealed in often startling ways. Moreover, Sontag has included a long interview in which she moves mroe informally over the whole range of her concerns and of her work. The volume ends with "Writing Itself," a previously uncollected essay on Roland Barthes which, in the eyes of many, is one of Sontag's finest achievements. This collection is, in a sense, both a self-potrait and a key for a reader to understand the work of one of the most imporant writers of our time.

Passing the Time in Ballymenone


Henry Glassie - 1982
    fresh and fascinating." --Come-All-Ye..". an extraordinarily rich and rewarding book.... it is about the effort of one man to find for himself and us the life's breath of the people of Ballymenone.... It is certainly a remarkable tour de force." --Emmet Larkin, New York Times Book ReviewThe life and art, the folklore, history, and common work of a rural community in Northern Ireland--through the eyes and pen of gifted folklorist Henry Glassie. It is a classic in the fullest sense, reaching beyond folklore to all of humanity.

The RKO Story


Richard B. Jewell - 1982
    Surveys the history of the motion picture studio, RKO Radio Pictures, from its beginnings in 1928 to its collapse in 1960 and discusses a variety of its films

The Little Book of Unsuspected Subversion


Edmond Jabès - 1982
    An Egyptian Jew, he was haunted by the question of place and the loss of place in relation to writing. He focused on the space of the book, seeing it as the true space in which exile and the promised land meet in poetry and in question. Jabes's mode of expression has been variously described: a new and mysterious kind of literary work - as dazzling as it is difficult to define, cascading aphorisms, a theater of voices in a labyrinth of forms. The manner of his writing embodies the meaning of his writing. Jabes's book is a manifesto not only of his own poetry, but of the most advanced critical poetry written during this century, one in which he engages in dialogue with some of its outstanding philosophers (Blanchot, Levinas, and Derrida)

The Buddha Eye: An Anthology of the Kyoto School and Its Contemporaries


Frederick Franck - 1982
    Contains essays by many of the most important twentieth century Japanese philosophers, offering challenging and illumination insights into the nature of Reality as understood by the school of Zen.

Selected Essays


Ralph Waldo Emerson - 1982
    His assertion that human thought and actions proceed from nature, was a radical departure from the traditional European emphasis on domesticating nature to suit human needs. His philosophy is rich in common natural scenes of daily life, and expresses the inherent harmony between man and nature. This collection brings together 15 of Emerson's most significant essays, including "Nature", "The American Scholar", "Self-reliance" and "The Transcendentalist", as well as his assessments of Montaigne, Napoleon and Thoreau.

Ripening: Selected Work, 1927-1980


Meridel Le Sueur - 1982
     The New York Times Book Review wrote that this volume "inspires belief in the power of a writer-and a woman-to prevail against poverty, persecution and public neglect...[Le Sueur's] consummate achievement as an artist is her transformation of colloquial speech into musical prose."

A Barthes Reader


Roland Barthes - 1982
    Susan Sontag's prefatory essay is one of her finest acts of criticism, informed by intellectual sympathy and a sure sense of the contours of the mind she is describing.

Light Up the Cave


Denise Levertov - 1982
    This volume of fiction and essays includes three short stories, articles on the craft of poetry focusing on the musical function of the line, and a discussion of the relation of poets to politics.

Wisdom Energy: Basic Buddhist Teachings


Lama Thubten Yeshe - 1982
    Containing an entire meditation course, it goes to the heart of basic Buddhist practice and discusses the meaning and purpose of meditation, the causes of dissatisfaction and unhappiness, and the methods for subduing them and gaining control over our minds and lives. Originally published in 1976, Wisdom Energy still preserves the power, humor, and directness of the lamas's first teaching tour of North America, giving the reader the feeling of an intimate audience with two highly respected teachers.

Works of Martin Luther


Martin Luther - 1982
    Quality assurance was conducted on each of these books in an attempt to remove books with imperfections introduced by the digitization process. Though we have made best efforts - the books may have occasional errors that do not impede the reading experience. We believe this work is culturally important and have elected to bring the book back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide.

The Crystal Bucket: Television Criticism from "The Observer," 1976-79


Clive James - 1982
    His work is deeply perceptive, often outrageously funny and always compulsively readable.'Thus the judges of the British Press Awards, in naming Clive James Critic of the Year for 1981. The Crystal Bucket offers a further selection of his inimitable 'visions before midnight ...''C.J. didn't get where he is today just by being funny. He is humane, liberal and compassionate ... What he writes is always pertinent and always witty ... We own him a deep debt of gratitude.' —Gavin Ewart, Listener'Few critics have a more unerring ear for woolliness and doubletalk or a more scathing and entertaining way of dealing with it.' —Lesley Garner, Good Housekeeping'He is one of the most remarkable figures in British cultural life at the moment: a poet and gifted literary critic who is also genuinely liked by the mass audience.' —Michael Mason, London Review of Books'One of the few columnists who make you laugh aloud ... if there were angels he would be on their side: and that would certainly include Charlie’s Angels.' —Melvyn Bragg, Sunday Times

Rasa, Or, Knowledge of the Self: Essays on Indian Aesthetics and Selected Sanskrit Studies


René Daumal - 1982
    Rasa, is the first gathering in English translation of essays and review articles on Hindu aesthetics and translations from the Sanskrit by the French writer Rene Daumal (1908-44).

The Boy Scout Handbook and Other Observations


Paul Fussell - 1982
    A collection of essays by Paul Fussell.

Prejudices: A Philosophical Dictionary


Robert A. Nisbet - 1982
    Upon each subject Robert Nisbet offers piercing and often unexpected insights.Joining the colorful company of Montaigne, Voltaire, Burke, and Mencken, Nisbet writes for his own age and with his own prejudices. He ranges from the historical to the contemporary, from great men to lesser ones, from pieties and wisdoms to fads and effronteries. The work, in other words, is neither philosophy nor a dictionary (except that the subject matter is arranged in alphabetical order), but the distillation of Nisbet's wisdom, learning, and profound moral conviction. He argues for liberty over equality, for authority against permissiveness, for religion but also for science, for the individual and his rights but against individualism and entitlements. The center of his thinking is the fervent wish for a community linked by history, religion, and ritual, in which children are raised by families rather than by the state, but in which blind custom and belief are questioned and creativity emerges. Determinism of any kind he finds untrue to human nature and history. Man is free to improve himself or destroy himself.

Theatres of the Mind


Joyce McDougall - 1982
    Using the idiom of drama, Joyce McDougall here describes how we play out compulsive scripts in our lives, inner worlds, symptoms and in the therapeutic transference.

Second Words: Selected Critical Prose


Margaret Atwood - 1982
    L. Doctorow, Northrop Frye, Roch Carrier, Marie-Claire Blais, Marge Piercy, Adrienne Rich, Sylvia Plath, and many more.

Selected Writings


Walter Pater - 1982
    In the twentieth century, Pater's theories of art and literature exerted a strong inluence on the work of Yeats, Pound, Eliot, Joyce, and Stevens.

Scenes in America Deserta


Reyner Banham - 1982
    What intrigues him is the works of man - the ancient pueblos and the modern observatories, the fantasies of Las Vegas and the Spanish missions, Frank Lloyd Wright and Paolo Soleri.What puzzles him is his response as the archetypal British tourist - the discovery that the desert is beautiful in his eyes in a way that no other landscape has ever been. This unsettling discovery sends Banham on a search for the roots of this response. He seeks explanations in the works of writers is various as Gaston Bachelard, Joan Didion, Ray Bradbury early historians and explorers, the American solitary and aesthete John van Dyke (author of the classic "The Desert," and Charles Doughty the English Arabist (author of "Travels in Arabia Deserta").

Young Rebecca: Writings, 1911-1917


Rebecca West - 1982
    Louis Post-Dispatch"Thanks to Marcus's arduous labor of selection, we have here a living, breathing evocation of the early feminist and socialist movements in England as recorded by a highly opinionated participant." --Jessica Mitford"The Young Rebecca reflects [West's] consuming interest in feminist and socialist issues. Quite apart from their technical excellence, these articles are remarkable because they were produced by a girl barely out of her teens, and because many of them read as if they were written last Tuesday." --The Atlanta Journal..". a fierce and funny scourge of establishment figures... her prose sparkles... " --Book World, The Washington PostJane Marcus brings together some of Rebecca West's early journalistic writings, collected here for the first time, which reveal West's passionate responses to political and literary events as well as her experience in the suffrage campaign. Included are articles from The Freewoman, The Clarion, and the Daily News, among others.