November 30, 2021

The essay is a critical essay in prose, of a scientific or popular nature, of a monographic nature, in which a scientific, political, philosophical, literary, historical, historiographic, artistic or customary topic is analyzed, treated in a non-formal and limited way. extension compared to writings with a broader treatment.


As a literary genre it can be traced back to the Essais of Michel de Montaigne, published in 1580, although it has analogies in classical literature with the sermon, the epistle and the moral treatise. Subsequently to Montaigne, Francesco Bacone wrote, in 1597, the Sages, a work that had a profound influence on Anglo-Saxon essays. The period of maximum diffusion was the eighteenth century. From the second half of the nineteenth century to today, the essay has turned especially to literary criticism. Milestones of this non-fiction form are in Italy the History of Italian literature by Francesco De Sanctis, published in 2 volumes in 1870, and then the Literature of the new Italy by Benedetto Croce (whose subtitle is Saggi critici), published in 6 volumes by 1914 to 1940.

Elements of the essay

The essay allows for a great variety of expression which can include, mixed together, the following elements: Soliloquy Argument Evocation Information Criticism Description Portrait Storytelling Anecdote Maxim (aphorism) Opinion Examples or illustrations Dialogue


Other projects

Wikiquote contains quotes about the essay Wiktionary contains the dictionary lemma "wise" Wikiversity contains a short essay lesson Wikimedia Commons contains images or other files about the essay

External links

essay, on Treccani.it - ​​Online Encyclopedias, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia. Mario Praz, WISE, in Italian Encyclopedia, vol. 30, Institute of the Italian Encyclopedia, 1936. (EN) Essay, in Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. (EN) Works concerning Essay / Essays, on Open Library, Internet Archive.

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