On Essays

Montaigne to the Present
Oxford University Press
  • erschienen am 4. September 2020
  • |
  • 400 Seiten
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978-0-19-101753-7 (ISBN)
Montaigne called it a ramble; Chesterton the joke of literature; and Hume an ambassador between the worlds of learning and of conversation. But what is an essay, and how did it emerge as a literary form? What are the continuities and contradictions across its history, from Montaigne's 1580 Essais through the familiar intimacies of the Romantic essay, and up to more recent essayists such as Virginia Woolf, James Baldwin, and Claudia Rankine? Sometimes called the fourth genre, the essay has been over-shadowed in literary history by fiction, poetry, and drama, and has proved notoriously resistant to definition. On Essays reveals in the essay a pattern of paradox: at once a pedagogical tool and a refusal of the methodical languages of universities and professions; politically engaged but retired and independent; erudite and anti-pedantic; occasional and enduring; intimate and oratorical; allusive and idiosyncratic. Perhaps because it is a form of writing against which literary scholarship has defined itself, there has been surprisingly little work on the tradition of the essay. Neither a comprehensive history nor a student companion, On Essays is a series of seventeen elegantly written essays on authors and aspects in the history of the genre - essays which, taken together, form the most substantial book yet published on the essay in Britain and America.
  • Englisch
  • Oxford
  • |
  • Großbritannien
  • 3,28 MB
978-0-19-101753-7 (9780191017537)
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Thomas Karshan is Senior Lecturer in Literature at the University of East Anglia. He is the author of Vladimir Nabokov and the Art of Play (Oxford University Press, 2011), the co-translator of Nabokov's The Tragedy of Mister Morn (Penguin, 2012), and the editor of Nabokov's Collected Poems (Penguin, 2013). From 2018 to 2020 he was President of the International Vladimir Nabokov Society. He has published articles on modern British, American, and Russian literature, and essays in the Times Literary Supplement, the London Review of Books, and elsewhere. Kathryn Murphy is Fellow in English Literature at Oriel College, and Associate Professor in the Faculty of English, University of Oxford. Her academic work focuses on Renaissance poetry and philosophy, and on the literary essay. She is also a critic and essayist, writing regularly about still life painting for Apollo Magazine, and reviewing Czech literature for the TLS. She is currently writing two books: The Tottering Universal: Metaphysical Prose in the Seventeenth Century; and Robert Burton: A Vital Melancholy, a study of distraction, attention, and The Anatomy of Melancholy.
  • Cover
  • On Essays: Montaigne to the Present
  • Copyright
  • Acknowledgements and Note on the Text
  • Contents
  • List of Figures
  • Notes on Contributors
  • Introduction: On the Difficulty of Introducing a Work of this Kind
  • 1. On Introductions
  • 2. On Definitions
  • 3. On Reading
  • 4. On Pedantry
  • 5. On Essays
  • 6. On Potential
  • 1: What is An Essay? Thirteen Answers from Virginia Woolf
  • 1. A Hippopotamus Entered at Stationers' Hall
  • 2. A Passionate Apprenticeship
  • 3. A Haunting
  • 4. A Room of One's Own
  • 5. A Piece of Homework
  • 6. A Bookshop
  • 7. A Valuation
  • 8. A Taste
  • 9. A Ramble
  • 10. An Assault
  • 11. A Deformity
  • 12. A Sport
  • 13. Everything and Nothing
  • 2: The Montaignian Essay and Authored Miscellanies from Antiquity to the Nineteenth Century
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The Miscellanist and the Pedant
  • 3. The History of the Essay before the Nineteenth Century
  • 4. Aulus Gellius
  • 5. Miscellaneity in D'Israeli's Library
  • 6. Montaigne
  • 7. Later Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries
  • 8. Contemporary Essays and Miscellanies in D'Israeli's Library
  • 9. Conclusion
  • 3: Of Sticks and Stones: The Essay, Experience, and Experiment
  • 1. Refuting and Refooting
  • 2. Montaigne's Stones
  • 3. Bacon's Experimental Discussions
  • 4. Boyle's Vicarious Experience
  • 5. Conclusion
  • 4: Time and the Essay: The Spectator and Diurnal Form
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. The Spectator and the Essay Form
  • 3. Reading Daily, Daily Reading
  • 4. Reading The Spectator Papers
  • 5. Repackaging Daily Papers
  • 5: The Sociable Philosopher: David Hume and the Philosophical Essay
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Shaftesbury, Socrates, and 'the liberty of the Club'
  • 3. Hume's Conversational Turn
  • 4. Johnson: Thinking and Contingency
  • 5. The Art of Diplomacy
  • 6. Philosophical Essays Concerning Human Understanding
  • 7. Fielding and his Audience
  • 8. In Conclusion: The Amiable Arsonist
  • 6: Tristram Shandy, Essayist
  • 1. Tristram among the Essayists
  • 2. The English Essay circa 1760
  • 3. Tristram's Essay
  • 4. Gathering, Twisting, Floating
  • 7: On Coffee-Houses, Smoking, and the English Essay Tradition
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Smoking as an Ornamental Art
  • 3. Smoking and Suburbanity
  • 4. The Cigar Divan
  • 8: The Romantic Essay and the City
  • 1. Two Traditions: The Urban Periodical Essay and the Poetry of Rural Retirement
  • 2. The Alienated Spectator
  • 3. Healthy Associations: Lamb, Hazlitt, Hunt, and the Essay of Urban Nostalgia
  • 4. The Enfranchised Quill: Lamb's Lucubrations
  • 5. Hazlitt, Coleridge, and the Whirligig of Association
  • 9: Charles Lamb, Elia, and Essays in Familiarity
  • 1. Introduction: Re-Familiarizing Lamb
  • 2. Traditions of the Familiar
  • 3. Haunting the Familiar
  • 4. Rewriting the Familiar
  • 10: Carlyle, Emerson, and the Voiced Essay
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Forging Oratorical Styles
  • 3. Constructing an Audience of Listeners
  • 4. Orchestrating Voices
  • 5. Charismatic Texts
  • 11: Retiring or Engaging: Politics in the English Essay
  • 1. Introduction to a Paradox
  • 2. Eighteenth-Century Consciences
  • 3. Romantic Consciences
  • 4. American and Modernist Consciences
  • 5. Orwell, Baldwin, and other Guerrilla Fighters
  • 6. Polemical Exceptions
  • 12: Things Said by the Way: Walter Pater and the Essay
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Aesthetic Criticism and the Essay
  • 3. The Novel and the Essay
  • 13: 'Strips of Essayism': Eliot, Hardy, and the Victorian Periodical Essay
  • 1. Writing in Tongues
  • 2. Essayism and Essays
  • 3. What We Know
  • 4. Parallel Lines
  • 14: Rational Distortions: Essayism in the British Novel after Borges
  • 1. Catching Fire
  • 2. Everything Excessive
  • 3. In-Between Times
  • 4. Darker Histories
  • 5. Other Places
  • 15: Creative Nonfiction and the Lyric Essay: The American Essay in the Twenty-First Century
  • 1. Introduction: The Renaissance of the American Essay
  • 2. Creative Nonfiction and the American University
  • 3. The Emergence of the Lyric Essay
  • 4. The Essay between Art and Science: Lukács and Adorno
  • 5. Art not Fact: John d'Agata and the Lyric Essay
  • 6. Truth if not Fact: Jo Ann Beard
  • 7. Race as Fact and Race as Fiction: Eula Biss
  • 8. Making Race Visible: Clauda Rankine's Citizen
  • 16: Up to a Point: The Psychoanalyst and the Essay
  • 17: Dalí's Montaigne: Essay Hybrids and Surrealist Practice
  • 1. Introduction
  • 2. Dalí and Surrealist Essayism
  • 3. Evans and Agee Keep It (Sur)real
  • 4. Marker's Dislocated Subject
  • 5. Bresland's Anxious Images
  • 6. Conclusion
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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