The book is a delightful and witty series of essays. The essays are primarily one-sided dialogue with conversations between the unnamed speaker and the residents of a boarding house at a breakfast table. These amusing conversations cover a wide range and topics and give entertaining observations of character. This edition offers a humorous and engaging perspective of American life of the time. The first two essays were originally published by The New-England Magazine in 1831 and 1832. The additional essays were published in 1857 and 1858 in The Atlantic Monthly. Holmes, physician and beloved poet of the 19th century, was a regular contributor to The Atlantic Monthly.