Reading essays produced by some of the most famous American essay writers in history can leave you feeling either in awe of their mastery or motivated to develop your own skills from a new angle. Every reader walks away from a great essay with a somewhat different takeaway, but they all come away with the realization that essays are more than just a tedious academic assignment.
You should start researching the works of the following authors if you want to learn a few masterpieces written by some of the most famous essay writers:
Jo Ann Beard
Jo Ann Beard, one of the famous american essay writers, demonstrates the genre’s profundity in a way that few other authors have managed. She is now widely regarded as one of the most significant writers in American history for her groundbreaking work in both fiction and nonfiction.
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The best place to start reading her work is with The Fourth State of Matter, an emotionally charged novel about a student who kills six people, including himself. Students writing personal history essays will find this paper to be not only a great read, but also a rare model of style and beauty.
Phillip Lopate is widely regarded as one of the greatest American film critics, but he is also a gifted writer who engages and challenges readers. It is challenging to categorize personal essays since they lack the rigid construction of other sorts of academic writing. Those learning how to write first-person essays can learn a lot from this legend, famous american essay writers.
Phillip Lopate’s Against Joie de Vivre is the perfect entry point for those interested in reading more of his writing.
David Foster Wallace
Though he also published novels and short stories, David Foster Wallace is most remembered as a brilliant essayist with a distinct, fact-driven style. In his famous essay “Contemplate the Lobster,” published in the August 2004 issue of Connoisseur, he posed a troubling question to the magazine’s devoted readership: “Is it acceptable to boil a creature that is still alive just to satisfy the client’s gustatory senses?”
Kafka’s article “Laughing with Kafka” is another must-read. While few would describe Kafka’s novels as comedic, Wallace uncovers the horrific and exquisite humour hidden therein.
Joan Didion’s essays reveal the breakdown of human society’s cultural norms and moral principles. Reading her essays may cause a mild case of hysteria, but that’s part of what makes her so valuable.
The White Album is a cornerstone of the genre. The play casts an unmasked critical eye over the mainstream cultural norms and events of the 1960s.
Narrative nonfiction is a difficult genre to master, but John Angus McPhee learned the tricks of the trade to produce works that are both accurate and inventive. The fact that McPhee has won the Pulitzer Prize four times should encourage you to start reading his works.
The Seek for Marvin Gardens, one of his most well-liked books, delves into the background of Atlantic City by means of an unusual lens: the board game Monopoly. Even if the essay’s subject matter throws you for a loop at first, McPhee’s magnetic allure will have you hooked by the first phrase.
Learn the craft of essay writing by analyzing exceptional examples.
Famous for his writings on travel and the outdoors, American novelist and essayist Edward Hoagland is often cited as an authority on these topics. Hoagland’s prose is so clear that the reader feels as though they are right there with the complex characters, situations, concerns, wants, grandeur, and struggle.
The style of Edward Hoagland is at its finest in Heaven and Nature. Due to its focus on suicide, this may be a challenging read, but it is also one of the best examinations of the problem. Edward Hoagland is a master storyteller whose work will strike a chord with you through its unflinching sincerity.
The author who won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction will change your view of the essay forever. Contrary to popular belief, essays are not a restrictive kind of academic writing that confines you within predetermined rules and structures, but rather a genre that can unleash a hitherto dormant and underappreciated creative force.
Dillard’s writing combines the emotive intensity of personal essay with the lyrical depth of poetry. In her excellent collection of pieces, Teaching a Stone to Talk, Annie Dillard probes the depths of human meaning and natural reality.