The History Of Essay Writing Category : Secondary School Level

The History Of Essay Writing

Category : Secondary School Level

The name "essay" goes back to 1588 when the writer Michel de Montaigne published his book "Essays". Since then the word essay has been widely used to describe a short work that reveals the writer's point of view on some particular subject. This word has come from French and has the same origin as the French verb "essayer" (to attempt).


It was a unique piece of literature in the 16th century, and it has not lost its unique nature. Really, we have been reading novels and are attracted by short stories; we are thrilled by the plot of drama, however these types of literature masterpieces create their own characters and have their own, frequently fictional plots. Unlike the written works mentioned above, the writer of an essay communicates directly with the reader and thus the author gives his own opinion on the event, story, subject and even life in general. It might describe, it may generalize, and it can teach or entertain but the opinion of the writer should be clearly and plainly stated. You may choose whatever topic you want, but we advise to choose some topic you are really interested in, especially if you have got such an opportunity.


Certainly, Montaigne was not the first essayist, some ancient Greek writers such as Plutarch and Roman philosophers, such as Since also composed and wrote essays; yet Montaigne was the one who invented and popularized the term. Since Montaigne, a lot of famous English writers have been using this type of written work to express their own opinion on some subjects or events. Abraham Cowley, Joseph Addison and Francis Bacon to name but a few. In the 19th century several other prominent writers such as Virginia Woolf and J.B. Priestley followed suit. Their essays have already become classical masterpieces and have been able to excite, enlighten and entertain several generations of grateful readers. The impact of their essays extends far beyond the year and even century when they were produced.


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