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Essayists on the Essay
Contents

Preface

Toward a Collective Poetics of the Essay, by Carl H. Klaus

MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE   
From “Of Practice,” “Of Repentance,” and “Of Vanity”—1580

WILLIAM CORNWALLIS
From “Of Essays and Books”—1600-1601

FRANCIS BACON  
From The Advancement of Learning—1605

JOSEPH ADDISON   
From The Spectator, No. 476—September  5, 1712

SAMUEL JOHNSON 
From The Rambler, Number 184— December 21,1751

WILLIAM HAZLITT  
From The Round Table, Number 10—May 5, 1815

CHARLES LAMB   
From an unpublished review of Hazlitt’s Table Talk—1821

RALPH WALDO EMERSON  
From “Montaigne, or the Skeptic”—1850

ALEXANDER SMITH
From “On the Writing of Essays”—1863

WALTER PATER
From “Dialectic”—1893

AGNES REPPLIER 
From “The Passing of the Essay”—1894

WILLIAM DEAN HOWELLS  
From “The Old Fashioned  Essay—1902

JOSE ORTEGA Y GASSET 
From Meditations of Quixote—1914

ARTHUR CHRISTOPHER BENSON 
From “The Art of the Essayist” —1922

VIRGINIA WOOLF  
From “Modern Essays”—1922

WILLIAM CARLOS WILLIAMS    
“An Essay on Virginia”—1925

HILLAIRE BELLOC 
“An Essay upon Essays upon Essays”—1929

ROBERT MUSIL    
From A Man Without Qualities—1930

G. K. CHESTERTON   
“The Essay”—1932

KATHERINE FULLERTON GEROULD   
From “An Essay on Essays”—1935

WALTER MURDOCH  
From “The Essay”—1938   

ENRIQUE ANDERSON-IMBERT  
From “In Defense of the Essay”—1946

MAX BENSE   From “On the Essay and Its Prose”—1947

MARIANO PICON-SALAS  
From “The Revolution of the Essay” —1954

GERMAN ARCINIEGAS   
From “Our American Essay”—1956

THEODOR ADORNO 
From “The Essay as Form”—1958

ALDOUS HUXLEY   
From the Preface to Collected Essays—1960

MICHAEL HAMBURGER  
“An Essay on the Essay”—1965

FERNAND OUELLETTE  
“Ramblings on the Essay”—1972

GUILLERMO DIAZ-PLAJA
“The Limits of the Essay”—1976

EDWARD HOAGLAND  
“What I Think, What I Am”—1976

E. B. WHITE 
From the Foreword to Essays of E.B. White—1977

WILLIAM GASS  
From “Emerson and the Essay”—1982

JEAN STAROBINSKI
From “Can One Define the Essay?”—1983

ANDRE BELLEAU   
“Little Essayistic”—1983

GABRIEL ZAID
From “Alfonso Reyes’ Wheelbarrow”—1988

SCOTT RUSSELL SANDERS
From “The Singular First Person—1988

PHILLIP LOPATE    
“What Happened to the Personal Essay”—1989

GERALD EARLY   
From the Introduction to Tuxedo Junction—1989  

NANCY MAIRS  
From “Essaying the Feminine: From Montaigne to Kristeva”—1994

RACHEL BLAU DUPLESSIS  
From “f-Words: An Essay on the Essay—1996

CYNTHIA OZICK
“She: Portrait of the Essay as a Warm Body”—1998

SARA LEVINE
“The Self on the Shelf”—2000

VIVIAN GORNICK  
From  The Situation and the Story‑—2001

JOHN D’AGATA 
From “2003” in The Next American Essay—2003 

PAUL GRAHAM  
From “The Age of the Essay”—2004

SUSAN ORLEAN
From the Introduction to The Best American Essays—2005

ANDER MONSON 
From “The Essay as Hack”—2008

JOHN BRESLAND
“On the Origin of the Video Essay”—2011

JEFF PORTER
“Essay on the Radio Essay”—2011

ROBERT ATWAN
“Notes Toward a Definition of the Essay—2012

Bibliography,  compiled by Ned Stuckey-French

Thematic Guide to Entries in the Bibliography,  compiled by Ned Stuckey-French