The first American "best of" selection from my critical writings, First Reactions, was published by Knopf in 1980, at the kind invitation of Robert Gottlieb, before he moved on to edit the New Yorker. But this second anthology, having a much longer span of work to choose from, is the more substantial volume. Published in 2003, As of This Writing is billed as "The Essential Essays, 1968-2002", a subtitle which some critics thought a bit steep. The selection of articles was undertaken by my editor at Norton, Robert Weil, but specially written postscripts were added at my own discretion. The complete manuscript was given all the care and resources of a distinguished publishing house, whose technicians were particularly lavish in supplying the plush thin paper that only the Americans can nowadays seem to get hold of. The result was a book which even today I can't open without experiencing all over again the thrill of being published for the first time.