7 Non-literary types
7.1 Visual Arts
8 See also
10 Further reading
11 External links
An essay has been definedin a variety of ways. One definition is a "prose composition with a focused subject of discussion" or a "long, systematic discourse".
It is difficult to define the genre into which essays fall.Aldous Huxley, a leading essayist, gives guidance on the subject. He notes that "[l]ike the novel, the essay is a literary device for saying almost everything about almost anything, usually on acertain topic. By tradition, almost by definition, the essay is a short piece, and it is therefore impossible to give all things full play within the limits of a single essay". He points out that "acollection of essays can cover almost as much ground, and cover it almost as thoroughly, as can a long novel"--he gives Montaigne's Third Book as an example. Huxley argues on several occasions that "essaysbelong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference".
Huxley's three poles are:
Personal and the autobiographical essays:these use "fragments of reflective autobiography" to "look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description".
Objective and factual: in these essays, the authors "do not speak directly ofthemselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme".
Abstract-universal: these essays "make the best ... of all the three worlds in which it is possiblefor the essay to exist". This type is also known as Giraffe Style Writing.
Essays of Michel de Montaigne
The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt". InEnglish essay first meant "a trial" or "an attempt", and this is still an alternative meaning. The Frenchman Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays; he...