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60 Essays: Contents of Essay Samplers

Classic Writings by Swift, Emerson, Woolf, Orwell, White, and Many More

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60 Essays: Contents of Essay Samplers

60 Essays: Models of Good Writing

Our five Essay Samplers include works by the first major English essayist ("On Studies," by Francis Bacon), the first great Irish satirist ("A Modest Proposal," by Jonathan Swift), and the most notable American essayist of the 19th century ("Self-Reliance," by Ralph Waldo Emerson). You will also find several pieces by three major essayists of the 20th century: Virginia Woolf, George Orwell, and E. B. White.

If your reading interests are more contemporary, have a look at the essays by journalist Anna Quindlen ("Homeless"), comedian Steve Martin ("The Death of My Father"), and novelist Stephen King ("The Writing Life"). Several essays first appeared in print within the past few decades.

To help you locate essays that match your own tastes, the contents of the Essay Samplers have been organized here by author (below), title, and theme.

CONTENTS BY AUTHOR AND TITLE

Mortimer Adler
”How to Mark a Book” (1940) Part 5 #4

Mary Austin
"The Land of Little Rain" (1903) Part 1 #2

Francis Bacon
"Of Studies” (1625) Part 5 #7

Judy Brady
"Why I Want a Wife" (1971) Part 3 #12

Bruce Catton
"Grant and Lee: A Study in Contrasts" (1956) Part 3 #2

Gilbert Keith Chesterton
"A Piece of Chalk" (1905) Part 1 #8

Daniel Defoe
"The Education of Women" (1719) Part 1 #3

Joan Didion
"Why I Write" (1976) Part 2 #12

Annie Dillard
"This Is the Life" (2003) Part 2 #10

Ralph Waldo Emerson
"Self-Reliance" (1841) Part 1 #10

E. M. Forster
"My Wood" (1936) Part 3 #9

Benjamin Franklin
”The Whistle” (1779) Part 5 #10

Oliver Goldsmith
"On National Prejudices" (1763) Part 2 #7

Ernest Hemingway
"Camping Out" (1920) Part 2 #2

Langston Hughes
"Salvation" (1940) Part 3 #10

James Huneker
"Coney Island at Night" (1906) Part 4 #10

Zora Neale Hurston
"How It Feels to Be Colored Me" (1928) Part 3 #4

James Weldon Johnson
"Outcasts in Salt Lake City" (1933) Part 5 #5

H. H. Kane
"A Hashish House in New York" (1883) Part 3 #3

Nikos Kazantzakis
"Happiness" (1965) Part 4 #3

Alfred Kazin
"The Kitchen" (1941) Part 4 #6

John F. Kennedy
Inaugural Address (1961) Part 4 #1

Martin Luther King, Jr.
"I Have a Dream" (1963) Part 2 #5
"Letter from Birmingham Jail" (1963) Part 1 #7

Stephen King
”The Writing Life” (2006) Part 5 #12

Abraham Lincoln
”The Gettysburg Address” (1863) Part 5 #3

Jack London
"The Story of an Eyewitness: The San Francisco Earthquake" (1906) Part 4 #11

William Lutz
"Life Under the Chief Doublespeak Officer" (1989) Part 3 #6

Steve Martin
”The Death of My Father” (2002) Part 5 #1

H. L. Mencken
"The Hills of Zion" (1925) Part 2 #4

Christopher Morley
"1100 Words" (1921) Part 4 #5

Barack Obama
First Inaugural Address (2009) Part 3 #1

George Orwell
"Bookshop Memories" (1936) Part 2 #1
"A Hanging" (1931) Part 1 #6
"Politics and the English Language" (1946) Part 4 #7
"Shooting an Elephant" (1936) Part 1 #11
"Why Are Beggars Despised?" (1933) Part 5 #11
"Why I Write" (1946) Part 1 12

Jo Goodwin Parker
"What Is Poverty?" (1971) Part 3 #11

Anna Quindlen
"Homeless" (1987) Part 4 #4

Paul Roberts
”How to Say Nothing in 500 Words” (1958) Part 5 #5

Bertrand Russell
"In Praise of Idleness" (1932) Part 3 #3

Samuel H. Scudder
"Look at Your Fish!" (1874) Part 5 #8

David Sedaris
"This Old House" (2007) Part 2 #9

Zadie Smith
"Speaking in Tongues" (2008) Part 4 #8

Jonathan Swift
"A Modest Proposal" (1729) Part 3 #7

Deborah Tannen
"My Mother, My Hair" (2006) Part 3 #8

Henry David Thoreau
”Walking” (1851) Part 5 #10

Frank Trippett
"Watching Out for Loaded Words" (1982) Part 4 #12

Mark Twain
"Advice to Youth" (1882) Part 1, #1
"A Fable" (1876) Part 2 #3
"On the Decay of the Art of Lying" (1882) Part 2 #6
"Two Ways of Seeing a River" (1883) Part 2 #11

Gore Vidal
"Drugs: The Case for Legalizing Marijuana" (1970) Part 4 #2

E. B. White
"Farewell, My Lovely" (1936) Part 1 #5
"Once More to the Lake" (1941) Part 2 #8
"The Ring of Time" (1956) Part 4 #9

Virginia Woolf
"The Death of the Moth" (1942) Part 1 #3
"Professions for Women" (1942) Part 1 #9
”Street-Haunting”: A London Adventure” (1930) Part 5 #8

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