- Introduction: In Defense of the Miscellaneous Essay Collection - vii - Tea at the Plaza - 1 - The Camera Shop - 10 - The Countess's Tutor - 16 - My Brother the Radio Host - 58 - Wife or Sister? - 67 - The Limits of Empathy - 94 - The Lake of Suffering - 99 - Memoirs of a Wishy-Washy Left-Liberal - 126 - Laws of Attraction - 135 - Duration, or, Going Long - 144 - Warren Sonbert - 152 - 'Howl' and Me - 179 - The Poetry Years - 191 - On Not Reading Thomas Bernhard - 217 - Coda: The Life of the Mind - 230
Phillip Lopate is an essayist, novelist and poet. He is the author of more than a dozen books, including three personal essay collections - Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre and Portrait of My Body; a critical study, Notes on Sontag; and To Show and to Tell: The Craft of Literary Nonfiction. He directs the graduate nonfiction program at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn with his wife and daughter.
'Hilarious and tender ... Meandering merrily along in the footsteps of the great classical essayists Montaigne and William Hazlitt, acclaimed cultural critic Lopate traipses breezily through family life and literary, cultural, social, and political matters ... with his typical elegance and peripatetic curiosity.' - Publishers Weekly 'What holds it together is an engaging voice, the projection of a curious, appealingly modest, sometimes self-mocking character behind that voice, and "the fluent play of a single consciousness." He's gifted at staging his inner conflicts, radiating intimacy without descending into the confessional.' - The New York Times Book Review