The Glorious American Essay with Phillip Lopate

to discuss Edith Wharton's 1918 essay, America at War

May 25, 2021

7:00 PM - 8:00 PM

May is for Memory! Essay-writing has a rich history in the United States. What American essays should we remember today, and why? What contributions do they make to America’s collective memory? The Mount invites Phillip Lopate to discuss his recent edited collection, The Glorious American Essay: One Hundred Essays from Colonial Times to Present, and the addition of Edith Wharton’s lecture titled America at War (1918). In conversation with journalist Julie Scelfo, Lopate will explore the complexities of choosing works, past and present, for this anthology.

This program is supported by a grant from the Bridge Street Fund, a special initiative of Mass Humanities.



The Mount is a Massachusetts Cultural Council UP designated organization welcoming participants of all disabilities. Please contact The Mount at 413-551-5100 or by email,, to discuss accommodations needed to participate fully in this event.

Purchase Phillip's book on The Mount's page!


  • Online Event


Phillip Lopate

Phillip Lopate is a central figure in the revival of the American essay, both through his ubiquitous edited anthology, Art of the Personal Essay, and his own essay collections, Bachelorhood, Against Joie de Vivre, Portrait of My Body and Portrait Inside My Head. He is also the author of such book-length nonfiction works as Being with Children Waterfront, Notes on Sontag, Rudy Burckhardt: Photographer and A Mother’s Tale. Additionally, he has written books of fiction (Confessions of Summer, The Rug Merchant, Two Marriages) and poetry (At the End of the Day). Finally, he has edited other anthologies (Writing New York and American Movie Critics), and is currently completing a three-volume historical anthology of the American essay. A member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a winner of Guggenheim, New York Public Library and National Endowment for the Arts fellowships, he is on the faculty of Columbia University’s Graduate Writing Program, School of the Arts.

Julie Scelfo

Julie Scelfo is a journalist, author and justice advocate who helps people discover the forces that help shape human thinking. Previously, Scelfo was a staff writer for The New York Times, and a Correspondent at Newsweek where she covered breaking news. Scelfo is the author of The Women Who Made New York, a collection of intersectional biographies that reveal how it was women — and not just men — who built one of the world’s greatest cities. Scelfo earned a Bachelor of Arts, cum laude from Barnard College, Columbia University, and a Master’s degree in Media Ecology from New York University. She lives in New York City, is a frequent public speaker and has made numerous appearances on television, radio and podcasts.