Essays are works of opinionated non-fiction. The literary form is first-person authority. The writers we will read and discuss are an amazing array of Americans telling the story of the American Twentieth Century. They are worthy successors of "Father of the Essay" Montaigne. We will be reading The Best American Essays of the Century (Houghton Miflin, 2000), edited by Joyce Carol Oates and Robert Atwan. The editors’ preference was to select essays that came from intense personal experiences related to larger issues. Among included authors are: Mark Twain, Ernest Hemingway, James Baldwin, Martin Luther King, Susan Sontag, Maya Angelou, and Saul Bellow.