The Ten Greatest Essays, Ever

Robert Atwan

Ten Great English Essays

Francis Bacon, “Of Cunning”

(from Essays, 1612)

John Milton, “Areopagitica”

(from The Complete Works, 1644)

Joseph Addison, “On the Pleasures of the Imagination”

(from The Spectator, nos. 411-412, 1712)

Jonathan Swift, “A Modest Proposal”

(from The Collected Works, 1729)

Samuel Johnson, “On Spring”

(from The Collected Works, 1750)

Charles Lamb, “Witches, and Other Night Fears”

(from Essays of Elia, 1823)

William Hazlitt, “On the Pleasure of Hating”

(from On the Pleasures of Hating, 1823)

Thomas De Quincey, “On Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts”

(from The Collected Essays, 1827)

Virginia Woolf, “22 Hyde Park Gate”

(from the diaries, 1922)

George Orwell, “Shooting an Elephant”

(from Selected Writings, 1936)

Ten Great American Essays

Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Experience”

(from Essays, 1844)

Nathaniel Hawthorne, “The Custom-House”

(from The Scarlet Letter, 1850)

Henry David Thoreau, “Where I Lived, and What I Lived For”

(from Walden, 1854)

Agnes Repplier, “Opinions”

(from The Atlantic Monthly, 1894)

E. B. White, “Once More to the Lake”

(from Harper’s, 1941)

Mary McCarthy, “Artists in Uniform: A Story”

(from Harper’s, March 1953)

James Baldwin, “Notes of a Native Son”

(from Notes of a Native Son, 1955)

Loren Eisley, “The Star Thrower”

(from The Star Thrower, 1969)

Joan Didion, “The White Album”

(from The White Album, 1979)

Annie Dillard, “Total Eclipse”

(from Teaching a Stone to Talk, 1982)

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