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On Essays – Montaigne to the Present - Oxford Scholarship Online
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On Essays: Montaigne to the Present

Thomas Karshan and Kathryn Murphy


What is an essay, and how did the essay emerge as a literary form? What are the continuities and surprising emergences across its history, from Montaigne’s 1580 Essais to the present? This volume assembles seventeen essays which address patterns and oddities in the history of the genre, paying attention both to the transformed legacies of the earliest essayists across the centuries, and to the form’s contemporary vibrancy. Contributors, both scholars and essayists, draw out paradoxes of what is considered the fourth genre, often overshadowed in literary history and criticism by fiction, poetry ... More

Keywords: essay, miscellaneity, theory of the essay, literary form, history of the essay, prose genres, association, philosophy and literature

Bibliographic Information

Print publication date: 2020 Print ISBN-13: 9780198707868
Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2020 DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198707868.001.0001


Affiliations are at time of print publication.

Thomas Karshan, editor
Senior Lecturer in Literature, University of East Anglia

Kathryn Murphy, editor
Fellow and Tutor in English Literature, Oriel College, and Associate Professor, English Faculty, University of Oxford