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 and an MFA candidate at Johns Hopkins. Prior to coming to Baltimore, he studied literature and worked in IT while living in Dublin, Ireland. You can find him on Twitter at @tdbeckwith.


  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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