The Ten Greatest Essays, Ever

Wayne Koestenbaum

Francis Ponge, Soap

(from Grossman, 1969)

Anne Carson, “The Glass Essay”

(from Glass, Irony, and God, 1995)

Jean Genet, “What Remains of a Rembrandt Torn into Little Squares All the Same Size and Shot Down the Toilet”

(from Fragments of the Artwork, 2003)

Fernando Pessoa, The Book of Disquiet

(the Penguin translation, 1935)

Oscar Wilde, De Profundis

(from Random House, 1905)

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

(from Notes of a Native Son, 1955)

Marcel Proust, “On Reading”

(from Renaissance Latine, 1905)

Roland Barthes, “The Third Meaning”

(from The Responsibility of Forms, 1971)

Walter Benjamin, “On Some Motifs in Baudelaire”

(from Selected Writings, 1939)

Joan Didion, “The White Album”

(from The White Album, 1979)

Gertrude Stein, “Stanzas in Meditation”

(from Stanzas in Meditation and Other Poems: 1929-1933, 1932)

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About Wayne Koestenbaum

Wayne Koestenbaum is the author of thirteen books, including five collections of poetry—among them Best-Selling Jewish Porn Films and Rhapsodies of a Repeat Offender—as well as the essay collections Hotel Theory, Jackie Under My Skin: Interpreting an Icon, Cleavage: Essays on Sex, Stars, and Aesthetics, Andy Warhol, Double Talk: The Erotics of Male Literary Collaboration, and the highly acclaimed critical work The Queen’s Throat: Opera, Homosexuality, and the Mystery of Desire. He’s also the author of the novel Moira Orfei in Aigues-Mortes, and a libretto entitled Jackie-O. The recipient of a Whiting Writer’s Award and a finalist for a National Book Critics Circle Award, Koestenbaum is Distinguished Professor of English at the City University of New York.