The Ten Greatest Essays, Ever

Vivian Gornick

Joan Didion, “In Bed”

(from The White Album, 1979)

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

(from Notes of a Native Son, 1955)

George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”

(from Selected Essays, 1936)

Virginia Woolf, “The Death of the Moth”

(from The Death of the Moth, 1942)

William Hazlitt, “On the Pleasure of Hating”

(from Table Talk, 1825)

Phillip Lopate, “Chekhov For Children”

(from Against Joie de Vivre, 1989)

Seymour Krim, “To My Brothers & Sisters in the Failure Business”

(from What’s This Cat’s Story?, 1991)

Lynn Darling, “For Better and Worse”

(from Esquire, May 1996)

Natalia Ginzburg, “Intimate Relations”

(from The Little Virtues, 1985)

Thomas De Quincey, Confessions of An English Opium Eater

(from London Magazine, 1821)

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About Vivian Gornick

Vivian Gornick is the author of eight books, including Approaching Eye Level, The Romance of American Communism, The End of the Novel of Love, The Situation and the Story, Women in Science, The Solitude of the Self: Thinking About Elizabeth Cady Stanton, and most recently The Men in My Life, which was nominated for a National Book Critics Circle Award. Her enormously popular memoir Fierce Attachments is widely considered a modern classic. A long-time correspondent for the Village Voice, Gornick has received fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Ford Foundation, and the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study. She is the founding director of THEA, The House for Elder Artists, an “un-retirement home” in New York for female artists, and teaches creative writing at The New School University.