The Ideal of Culture Essays

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2018-05-07
  • Publisher: Axios Pr

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Who is the greatest living essayist writing in English? Joseph Epstein would surely be at the top of anybody's list. Epstein is penetrating. He is witty. He has a magic touch with words, that hard to define but immediately recognizable quality called style. Above all, he is impossible to put down.

Joseph Epstein's The Ideal of Culture: Essays is the fourth such volume from Axios Press and contains 63 essays. Subjects range from domestic life to current social trends to an appraisal of “contemporary nuttiness.” It follows the much acclaimed Essays in Biography, 2012, A Literary Education and Other Essays, 2014, and Wind Sprints: Shorter Essays, 2016.

After reading Epstein, we see life with a fresh eye. We also see ourselves a little more clearly. This is what Plutarch intended: life teaching by example, but with a wry smile and such a sure hand that we hardly notice the instruction. It is just pure pleasure.

Author Biography

Joseph Epstein was formerly editor of the American Scholar. A long-time resident of Chicago, he has taught English and writing at Northwestern University for many years. He has written for numerous magazines including the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Weekly Standard and Commentary.

He is the author of 29 books, many of them collections of essays. His books include the bestselling Snobbery and Friendship as well as the short-story collections The Goldin Boys, Fabulous Small Jews, and The Love Song of A. Jerome Minkoff.

Table of Contents


I. The Culture

The Ideal of Culture

From Parent to Parenthood

Death Takes No Holiday




Old Age and Other Laughs

What's So Funny?

The Fall of the WASPs

The Virtue of Victims


The Sixties

University of Chicago Days

II. Literary

Erich Auerbach




C. K. Scott Moncrieff

The Young T. S. Eliot

Philip Larkin

Willa Cather

George Kennan

Isaiah Berlin

Michael Oakeshott

John O'Hara

F. Scott Fitzgerald, A Most Successful Failure

Wolcott Gibbs

Evelyn Waugh

J. F. Powers

Edward Gibbon



Encyclopaedia Britannica – The Eleventh



Literary Rivals

Why Read Biography?

III. Jewish

Sholem Aleichem

Jokes A Genre of Thought

Jews on the Loose

Jewish Pugs

Harry Golden

Gershom Scholem

Dreaming of a Jewish Christmas

IV. Masterpieces

The Brothers Ashkenazi

Civilization of the Renaissance




Speak, Memory


H. W. Fowler

As a Driven Leaf

Joseph and His Brothers

Life and Fate

Memoirs of Hadrian

Charnwood's Lincoln

Book of the Courtier

Ronald Syme

Quest for Corvo

The Old Bunch

The Life of Johnson

V. Hitting Eighty

Hitting Eighty


Supplemental Materials

What is included with this book?

The New copy of this book will include any supplemental materials advertised. Please check the title of the book to determine if it should include any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

The Used, Rental and eBook copies of this book are not guaranteed to include any supplemental materials. Typically, only the book itself is included. This is true even if the title states it includes any access cards, study guides, lab manuals, CDs, etc.

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