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Best Essays on the Essay

19 items ranked

Essayists seem to love writing about writing, and about writing the essay in particular. Here are some of the most helpful essays on the essay.

Rated 3 points - posted 8 years ago by phdlist in category Books.
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1.

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John D’Agata’s “Mer-Mer: An Essay about How I Wish We Wrote Our Nonfictions” Report Abuse
6 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

2.

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Phillip Lopate’s “In Search of the Centaur” Report Abuse
This one is focused on essay films, but still helpful when considering text essays
3 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

3.

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Theodor Adorno’s “The Essay as Form” Report Abuse
This one is more difficult to read than most of the others on this list, but when you want an in-depth theoretical discussion of the genre, this is one to dive into.
2 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

4.

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Michel de Montaigne’s “To the Reader” Report Abuse
This is a classic (and brief!) intro to his canonical Essais
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

5.

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Nancy Mairs’ “The Way In” Report Abuse
This piece is very helpful for opening up “permission to write” for beginning essayists
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

6.

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Lia Purpura’s “On Miniatures” Report Abuse
This is a great piece on the aesthetics of writing short, short essays.
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

7.

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Phyllis Rose’s “Whose Truth?” Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

8.

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Elizabeth Mittman’s “Christa Wolf’s Signature in and on the Essay: Women, Science and Authority” Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

9.

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Peggy Shumaker’s “Prose Poems, Paragraphs, and Brief Lyric Nonfiction” Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

10.

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David Hume “Of Essay Writing” Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

11.

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George Orwell’s “Politics and the English Language” Report Abuse
0 points - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

12.

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Carl Klaus’ “Essayists on the Essay” in Literary Nonfiction: Theory, Criticism and Pedagogy Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

13.

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Phillip Lopate’s introduction to The Art of the Personal Essay Report Abuse
This is one of the best-written overviews of the elements of the genre.
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

14.

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Michael Hall’s “The Emergence of the Essay and the Idea of Discovery” Report Abuse
This is a wonderful analysis about the cultural milieu out of which the essay sprang
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

15.

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O.B. Hardison’s “Binding Proteus: An Essay on the Essay” Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

16.

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William Hazlitt’s “On Familiar Style” Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

17.

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R. Lane Kauffman’s “The Skewed Path” Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

18.

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Pamela Klass Mittlefehldt’s “A Weaponry of Choice: Black American Women Writers and the Essay” Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -

19.

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Alexander Smith’s “On the Writing of Essays” Report Abuse
-1 point - added 8 years ago by phdlist -
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