The Oxford Book of Essays

The Oxford Book of Essays

4.25 (98 ratings by Goodreads)
  • Paperback
Edited by 

List price: US$19.95

Currently unavailable

Add to wishlist

AbeBooks may have this title (opens in new window).

Try AbeBooks


The essay is one of the richest of literary forms. Its most obvious characteristics are freedom, informality and the personal touch - though it can also find room for poetry, satire, fantasy and sustained argument. All these qualities, and many others, are on display in this volume. A wide-ranging collection, it includes 140 essays by 120 writers: classics, curiosities, meditations, diversions, old favourites, and recent examples felt to deserve being better known. A particular feature is the amount of space allotted to American essayists, from Benjamin Franklin to John Updike and beyond. The anthology opens with comments on the nature of truth and closes with a consideration of the novels of Judith Krantz. Some of the other topics discussed in its pages are anger, pleasure, Gandhi, Beau Brummell, wasps, party-going, gangsters, plumbers, Beethoven, potato crisps, the importance of being the right size, and the demolition of Westminster more

Product details

  • Paperback | 703 pages
  • 137.16 x 210.82 x 40.64mm | 793.78g
  • Oxford University Press
  • Oxford Paperbacks
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • New edition
  • New edition
  • 019288106X
  • 9780192881069

Review Text

Gross' excellent selection of over 140 of the finest essays ever written in English is a constant delight. The finest cut gemstones of all the classic essayists are here displayed, including Bacon and Swift, Johnson and Hazlitt. There are some little treasures too from other anticipated sources: Oscar Wilde, George Bernard Shaw, Virginia Woolf and J B Priestly. And the recent contributions yield riches no less: Conor Cruise O'Brien, Philip Larkin, John Updike and Clive James. There is an awful lot of wit and not a little literary craft packed into these 700 pages spanning five centuries. Don't miss it. (Kirkus UK)show more

About John Gross

John Gross is the author of The Rise and Fall of the Man of Letters (1969) and editor of The Oxford Book of Aphorisms (1983), among other publications. He was editor of the Times Literary Supplement from 1974 to 1981, and is currently theatre critic of the Sunday more

Review quote

"This is a collection that succeeds in demonstrating the marvelous variety of the genre."--The Christian Science Monitor"A distinguished miscellany."--The Chicago Tribune"Most of the essays are very good indeed....A seductive anthology."--The Economistshow more

Rating details

98 ratings
4.25 out of 5 stars
5 51% (50)
4 29% (28)
3 15% (15)
2 5% (5)
1 0% (0)
Book ratings by Goodreads
Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. Close X