John Jeremiah Sullivan

The New Essayists, or the Decline of a Form?

David Sedaris and a literary version of reality TV

“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.

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Editor’s Note: We’ll be running the article recommendations of our friends at TNR Reader each afternoon on The Plank, just in time to print out or save for your commute home. Enjoy! William Faulkner’s boldest attempt to tackle race, writes John Jeremiah Sullivan, somehow managed to dramatize a changing historical consciousness. New York Times | 13 min (3,183 words) A new Polish account of the Holocaust has not only sparked the interest of historians.

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