I Feel Expository

February 22, 2013 | 4 books mentioned 4

If we are, as Adam Kirsch writes, in the midst of a golden age of essays, we might want to ask exactly which essays are proof of this golden age. His first three picks — My Heart is an Idiot, I Was Told There’d Be Cake and Pulphead — are unsurprising choices, but then it gets a bit more interesting when he looks at Sheila Heti’s latest novel. (You could also check out a few of our pieces on these books.)

is a staff writer for The Millions. He lives in New York.


  1. Actually, Kirsch’s piece quite clearly contradicts the notion of a present “golden age” of essays. One must read beyond the intro. Paragraph 3 begins: “But all is not as it seems. … The resurrection of the essay is in large measure a mirage.” And he elaborates his case from there, along the way observing an important distinction: “What we now call an essayist used to be called a humorist.” The piece is well worth reading in its entirety.

  2. Even if one only read the title: “The New Essayist, or the Decline of a Form?” one wouldn’t come to the conclusion that the author thinks we’re in a “golden age” of essays.

    Anyway it’s a really good piece. Sedaris’ writing has always inexplicably bugged me, and Kirsh has managed to tell me why.

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