The New Essayists, or the Decline of a Form?
February 18, 2013
“The essay, as a literary form, is pretty well extinct,” Philip Larkin wrote gloomily in 1984. Extinct was the right word, capturing the sense of an organism that could no longer survive in a changed environment.
Sedaris's Answer To 'truthiness'?
June 02, 2008
David Sedaris's new book, When You Are Engulfed in Flames comes out this week. Neither fiction nor nonfiction, David Sedaris included a disclaimer labeling its contents "realish"--largely in response to this story in the March 19, 2007, issue of The New Republic. "That's a good word," Sedaris told the Christian Science Monitor recently. "I guess I've always thought that if 97 percent of the story is true, then that's an acceptable formula." Read the piece and judge for yourself. --Barron YoungSmith
The Nicotine Vote
May 02, 2008
David Sedaris has penned a lovely ode to his smoking years (inhale, exhale) in this week's New Yorker. With wicked precision, he ruminates on just what it is about cigarettes that allows one to be both self-debasing (the cough) and self-promoting (the cool) at once. He extols the many means of self-identification offered by cigarette consumption, pitting Newports v. Pall Malls v.
This American Lie
March 19, 2007
'The events described in these stories are real," humorist David Sedaris wrote in the introductory note to Naked, his 1997 collection of nonfiction essays. The New York Times was convinced: When Naked hit the best-seller list, it categorized the book as nonfiction. The Library of Congress called it biography, and Sedaris assured several interviewers over the years that the book was essentially factual. "Everything in Naked was true," he told the webzine Getting It in 1999. "I mean, I exaggerate. But all the situations were true." Great.