Today marks the release of Aleksandar Hemon’s excellent book of personal essays, The Book of My Lives , which we loved, and which we’re convinced deserves a place in the literary canon. To that end, we were inspired to put together our list of the greatest essay collections of all time, from the classic to the contemporary, from the personal to the critical. In making our choices, we’ve steered away from posthumous omnibuses (Michel de Montaigne’s Complete Essays , the collected Orwell, etc.) and multi-author compilations, and given what might be undue weight to our favorite writers (as one does). After the jump, our picks for the 25 greatest essay collections of all time. Feel free to disagree with us, praise our intellect, or create an entirely new list in the comments.
Apart from any other motive for putting a movie title on a list like this, there is always the motive of propaganda: Critics add a title hoping to draw attention to it, and encourage others to see it. For 2012, I suppose this is my propaganda title. I believe it's an important film, and will only increase in stature over the years. "Aguirre, Wrath of God" (Herzog), "Apocalypse Now" (Coppola), "Citizen Kane" (Welles), "La Dolce Vita" (Fellini), "The General" (Keaton), "Raging Bull" (Scorsese), "2001: A Space Odyssey" (Kubrick), "Tokyo Story" (Ozu), "The Tree of Life" (Malick), "Vertigo" (Hitchcock).