The Ten Greatest Essays, Ever

Terry Tempest Williams

Walt Whitman, “Democratic Vistas”

(from Galaxy magazine, 1871)

Terrence Des Pres, “Self/Landscape/Grid”

(from Praises and Dispraises, 1983)

Susan Sontag, Regarding the Pain of Others

(from Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2003)

Edward Abbey, “The Great American Desert”

(from The Best of Edward Abbey, 1977)

Henry David Thoreau, “On Civil Disobedience”

(from Aesthetic Papers, 1849)

David Foster Wallace, “Consider the Lobster”

(from Consider the Lobster, 2004)

J.M. Coetzee, The Lives of Animals

(from Princeton University Press, 1999)

Federico Garcia Lorca, “The Duende: Theory and Divertissement”

(from Poet in New York, 1930)

Anne Carson, “The Anthropology of Water”

(from Plainwater, 1995)

Carol Maso, “Rupture, Verge, and Precipice”

(from Break Every Rule, 2000)

Plus two more (or make that four):

Aldo Leopold, “The Land Ethic”

(from A Sand County Almanac, 1949)

Virginia Woolf, “A Room of One’s Own”

(from Hogarth Press, 1929)

Helene Cixous, The Laugh of the Medusa

(from Oxford University Press, 1975)

And something—anything—by Wayne Koestenbaum

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About Terry Tempest Williams

Terry Tempest Williams is the author of seven collections of essays, including Red: Passion and Patience in the Desert, An Unspoken Hunger, The Open Space of Democracy, Finding Beauty in a Broken World, and the highly acclaimed memoir Refuge, which is widely considered a modern classic of environmental writing. Williams often collaborates with visual artists as well, producing books such as Desert Quartet, Illuminated Desert, Coyote’s Canyon, and Pieces of White Shell: A Journey to Navajo Land. She’s the recipient of fellowships from the Guggenheim and Lannan Foundations, serves on the Governing Council of the Wilderness Society, and currently holds the Annie Lee Clark Fellowship in Environmental Studies at the University of Utah.