Disparates: Essays

Disparates: Essays

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Author/Contributor(s): Madden, Patrick
Publisher: University of Nebraska Press
Date: 04/01/2020
Binding: Paperback
Condition: NEW

In English disparate means "different" or "miscellaneous"--apt descriptors of these essays by Patrick Madden. In Spanish, however, disparate means "nonsense," "folly," or "absurdity,"--words appropriate to Madden's goal of undercutting any notion that essays must be serious business. Thus, in this collection, the essays are frivolous and lively, aiming to make readers laugh while they think about such abstract subjects as happiness and memory and unpredictability.

In this vein, Madden takes sidelong swipes at weighty topics via form, with wildly meandering essays, abandoned essays in honor of the long tradition of essayists disparaging their own efforts, and guerrilla essays--which slip in quietly under the guise of a borrowed form, abruptly attack, and promptly escape, leaving laughter and contemplation in their wake. Madden also incorporates cameos from guest essayists, including Mary Cappello, Matthew Gavin Frank, David Lazar, Michael Martone, Jericho Parms, and Wendy S. Walters, much like a musician features other performers.

Disparates reflects the current zeitgeist by taking on important issues with a touch of cleverness, a dash of humor, and a little help from one's friends.

Patrick Madden is a professor at Brigham Young University. He is the author of the award-winning Sublime Physick: Essays (Nebraska, 2016) and Quotidiana: Essays (Nebraska, 2010), and coeditor, with David Lazar, of After Montaigne: Contemporary Essayists Cover the Essays. His essays have appeared in a variety of periodicals as well as in The Best Creative Nonfiction and The Best American Spiritual Writing anthologies. Visit Madden's website at quotidiana.org.