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A New York Times Critics’ Pick
A career-spanning selection of the lucid, courageous, and boldly political prose of National Book Award winner Adrienne Rich.
Demonstrating the lasting brilliance of her voice and her prophetic vision, Essential Essays showcases Adrienne Rich’s singular ability to unite the political, personal, and poetical. The essays selected here by feminist scholar Sandra M. Gilbert range from the 1960s to 2006, emphasizing Rich’s lifelong intellectual engagement and fearless prose exploration of feminism, social justice, poetry, race, homosexuality, and identity.
About the Author
Adrienne Rich (1929–2012) was an award-winning poet, influential essayist, radical feminist, and major public intellectual of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries. She wrote two dozen volumes of poetry, including the National Book Award–winning Diving into the Wreck, and more than a half-dozen of prose.
Sandra M. Gilbert is a distinguished literary critic and poet. Together with Susan Gubar, she was awarded the Ivan Sandrof Lifetime Achievement Award from the NBCC. She lives in Berkeley, California.
A peerless pleasure.
— New York Times
Rich offers a powerful reminder of the continuous self-reflection required to fight ignorance—one's own and others'.… A profound and beautiful call to think, and feel, and fight.
— New York Times Book Review
[Essential Essays] shows us a woman in full command of her intellect and art.… [Rich] is more relevant than ever.
— San Francisco Chronicle
Reading [Essential Essays], one is struck by the breadth of Rich’s research, the force of her arguments, the elegance and honesty of her personal writing.
Feminist poet and literary critic Gilbert skillfully selects examples that convey the considerable breadth of Rich’s purview as an essayist and exhibit her characteristic strategy of rejecting surface explanations and turning experience around in the light of subjective truth. Approachable, effective excerpts afford breathtaking encounters with genius.
— Kirkus Reviews (starred review)
Vibrant.… [Rich’s] essays, always provocative, clear, and packed with insights, are wise, refreshingly humane, and well worth reading.
— Publishers Weekly
An excellent guide to living for anyone invested in the feminist struggle today, or the struggle for self-determination and equality more broadly.
— Pacific Standard
This collection refreshes an esteemed opinion of Rich’s invaluable contributions to poetry and feminist thought.
— New York Journal of Books