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The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick

by Elizabeth Hardwick, introduction by Alex Andriesse

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June 2022 selection of the NYRB Classics Book Club

The Uncollected Essays of Elizabeth Hardwick is a companion collection to The Collected Essays, a book that proved a revelation of what, for many, had been an open secret: that Elizabeth Hardwick was one of the great American literary critics, and an extraordinary stylist in her own right. The thirty-five pieces that Alex Andriesse has gathered here—none previously featured in volumes of Hardwick’s work—make it clear that her powers extended far beyond literary criticism, encompassing a vast range of subjects, from New York City to Faye Dunaway, from Wagner’s Parsifal to Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, and from the pleasures of summertime to grits soufflé. In these often surprising, always well-wrought essays, we see Hardwick’s passion for people and places, her politics, her thoughts on feminism, and her ability, especially from the 1970s on, to write well about seemingly anything.

On May 19, 2022, editor Alex Andriesse discussed The Uncollected Essays with Merve Emre, Saskia Hamilton, and Darryl Pinckney. This virtual event is part of New York Review Books’ ongoing series with Brooklyn’s Community Bookstore.

Additional Book Information

Series: NYRB Classics
ISBN: 9781681376233
Pages: 304
Publication Date:


An exhilarating book of...adventurously chosen pieces. To me, right now, no writer feels more joyously quotable. Witty, acerbic, original, true. Maybe Coleridge, whom I haven’t read.
—Michael Hofmann, Australian Book Review

I cannot see The Hardwick Sentence as anything but a spiritual leap toward fuller expression. . . When she got it right, there was a care and moral weight to her prose that few could even abut.
—Sasha Frere-Jones, 4Columns

[Hardwick's] stylish, gutting one-liners are present. . . . I was struck by the prescience of the collection’s strongest inclusions.
—Erin Schwartz, Vulture

Another compendium of greatness. . . . Of the great stylists with whom she is often grouped like Sontag, Janet Malcolm, Joan Didion, Cynthia Ozick, Renata Adler—all of them women alive at midcentury, who lived in New York, and published both essays and fiction, or something in between—none is more strange than Hardwick.
—Zachary Fine, Los Angeles Review of Books

Andriesse’s collection of 35 previously uncollected essays. . . is well timed. In the first piece, Hardwick writes that a 'collection of essays is a collection of variations,' and these pieces showcase her own range of interests. . . This judicious gathering is a fine place to sample Hardwick’s work.
—Kirkus Reviews

The clever observations of critic and novelist Elizabeth Hardwick shine in this sharp collection. The essays range from lyrical musings on places Hardwick lived—Kentucky, Maine, and New York—to insights on literature and thoughts on celebrities. . . This is a rousing testament to Hardwick’s enduring vision
Publishers Weekly

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