The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick


By Elizabeth Hardwick

cover image of The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

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The first-ever collection of 50+ writings from the 20th-century critic who “redefined the possibilities of the literary essay”—including works not seen in print for decades (The New Yorker)
Elizabeth Hardwick wrote during the golden age of the American literary essay. For Hardwick, the essay was an imaginative endeavor, a serious form, criticism worthy of the literature in question.
In the essays collected here, she covers civil rights demonstrations in the 1960s, describes places where she lived and locations she visited, and writes about the foundations of American literature—Melville, James, Wharton—and the changes in American fiction. She contemplates writers’ lives—women writers, rebels, Americans abroad—and the literary afterlife of biographies, letters, and diaries.
Selected and with an introduction by Darryl Pinckney, the Collected Essays gathers more than 50 essays for a 50-year retrospective of Hardwick’s work from 1953 to 2003. “For Hardwick,” writes Pinckney, “the poetry and novels of America hold the nation’s history.” Here is an exhilarating chronicle of that history.
“An authoritative immersion in American writing . . . Here are Dylan Thomas’s last days in New York . . . Truman Capote’s ‘unique crocodilian celebrity’; WH Auden, Isherwood, Henry James, Nabokov, Mailer, Frost, Elizabeth Bishop, to name but a few . . . ”
Financial Times
The Collected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick