Friday, September 17, 2010

Intro to The Oxford Book of Essays

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….”

John Gross.

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