The Oxford Book of Essays. Ed. John Gross. Oxford and new York: Oxford University Press. 1991.
From the introduction by John Gross:
“Even more than most literary forms, the essay defies strict definition.”
“…the distinguishing marks of an essay by Montaigne are intimacy and informality.”
Of Addison: “He transformed the essay into a civilizing force, an engine against coarseness and pedantry.”
“…masters of the art of talking on paper.”
“Emerson with his genius for the aphorism….”
“In making my final selection, I have tried to follow three principles. Some essays are included because they seem to me the best of their kind, some because they particularly appeal to me, a few because they are historically representative….”