All about Essay

Topics: Writing, Essay, Michel de Montaigne Pages: 5 (1691 words) Published: February 1, 2014


Origin of Essay
History of essay as a literature form has begun in 1580 when Michel de Montaigne has published the book “Les Essais”. In French term “essais” means “try” or “experience”. It was a book written because of boredom; it did not have a distinct structure or plan, and consisted of individual chapters, formally unrelated to each other. Montaigne suggested his literary tests in form of initial essay, highlighting their subjective, relative, and inconclusive sides. In fact, those were stories of observer that was keeping honesty and integrity of thought. Observations and reflections on the properties of human nature were expressed often at random occasions. In his essays, Montaigne wanted to understand himself, and let you get to know others, know the nature of man, and bring the world of spiritual passions, vices and virtues. Montaigne’s essays – is the freedom to build, easy, unhurried manner of presentation, the unexpected deviation from the topic of the association. Metaphors, puns, rhythm, techniques of rhetoric, the possibilities of art expression make that book classics of literature essay. Those principles are still in use today. After some time English philosopher Francis Bacon introduced the genre of the essayin his experiments (Essayes, 1612). Years passed when essays were realized in German by Hermann Grimm (der Essay, 1860). In the U.S. an essay as an independent literary form became widespread in the late 18th century. An essay of 18th -19th centuries has been one of the leading genres in journalism in France and England. But the Golden Age for essays has begun in 20th century. All prominent writers and philosophers were using it. Bernard Shaw, Herbert Wells, and Jean-Paul Sartre were among them. Those were times when essay passed from high literature to journalism challenging the pamphlet. History of essay makes itself product of brilliant writers that enriched the diversity of languages, style and form of the essay. Now students of science of linguistics may train themselves in writing essays in Montaigne’s or Bacon’s styles.

Definition of Essay
An essay is generally a short piece of writing written from an author's personal point of view, but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of anarticle, a pamphlet and a short story. Essays can consist of a number of elements, including: literary criticism, political manifestos, learned arguments, observations of daily life, recollections, and reflections of the author. Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse have been dubbed essays (e.g. Alexander Pope's An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man). While brevity usually defines an essay, voluminous works like John Locke's An Essay Concerning Human Understanding and Thomas Malthus's An Essay on the Principle of Population are counterexamples. In some countries (e.g., the United States and Canada), essays have become a major part of formal education. Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills, and admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants and, in the humanities and social sciences, as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams. The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other mediums beyond writing. A film essay is a movie that often incorporates documentary film making styles and which focuses more on the evolution of a theme or an idea. A photographic essay is an attempt to cover a topic with a linked series of photographs; it may or may not have an accompanying text or captions. TYPES OF ESSAY

The formal essay is a serious written discussion through which a writer conveys a viewpoint on a designated subject. The purpose of the formal essay is to write about a significant subject by focusing on the ideas rather than the person speaking. Definite structural patterns are associated with different forms of the formal...
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