Milton Friedman Letters Among the most famous essays in

An admirer of both Ring Lardner and James Joyce, Perelman’s deliriously complicated prose—written mostly for The New Yorker from 1934 until the end of his life—was densely constructed with puns, literary and historical allusions, ridiculous names, foreign phrases and double and triple entendres. For an American, Perelman was a particularly well-traveled and erudite man. He went to the Far East several times in his life and many of his most famous essays are travelogues. Perelman usually wrote in the first person, portraying himself as a snobby beset by his own (unobserved) comic ineptitude. He was a master of the English language with a massive vocabulary that would send readers to their dictionaries several times per page. All of the various idiosyncrasies and uniquely Perelman-esque tropes and over-excessive combined to form a literary style no less distinctive than Shakespeare’s.

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Thoreau’s fascination with nature gave rise to almost all his most important works, including A Week on the Concord and Merrimack Rivers (1849), Walden; or, Life in the Woods (1854), The Maine Woods (1864), Cape Cod (1865), and A Yankee in Canada (1866). An exacting sense of detail marks Thoreau’s writing about nature, and he wrote in a style deliberately meant to awaken his readers—through surprising plays on language, arresting turns of speech, unusual images or metaphors. He became and remains one of the strongest influences on American nature writers. His influence also extends into politics. In 1845 he refused to pay his poll tax as a form of protest against the Mexican War and against slavery. He was jailed, an experience which led him to write “Civil Disobedience” (1849), one of his most famous essays. It became a guiding document for eminent 20th-century proponents of passive resistance such as Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr.


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"Self-Reliance" is one of Emerson's most famous essays

List of famous essay books, listed alphabetically with jacket cover images of the books when available. Information for these popular essay books is included as well, such as the author's name and the book's publication date. This list includes the best essay novels, textbooks, and stories, so use it to find books you haven't already read and add them to your reading list.

A list made up of Me Talk Pretty One Day and A Room of One's Own.

This list should answer the questions, "What are the best essay books?" and "What are the most famous essay books?"

Note that some books on this list might be currently out of print, but you can purchase most of these notable essay titles on Amazon with just one click.