Interesting Facts about Essays You Didn’t Know
Generally, the essays are presented as pieces of academic writing that are used by the authors to express the points on various arguments. To some extent, the essay is similar to what we call short stories and pamphlets. As a rule, essays comprise many different elements like daily life observations, literary criticism, various recollections from the past, political arguments, as well as the reflections of the essayist. Most of the essays nowadays are written in prose; however, there are some written works generated in verse (“An Essay on Man” by Alexander Pope).
English is the language that is one of the most widespread and the oldest on the globe. But you would be surprised to know that it had to face with a wide range of changes in order to become what it is nowadays. Historically, English language is divided into three key periods: Old, Middle and Modern English. Each of the periods mentioned above has been influenced by various events that have contributed greatly to the development of the language.
But before we investigate the other historical aspects of the essay, let us focus on the meaning of the word “essay”. According to the experts, the word “essay” is generated from the “essayer” that means “to attempt” and “to try” in French language. When the matter concerns the English language, the first meaning of the word is “an attempt” or “a trial”, however, the meanings mentioned before are just of an alternative nature.
It was Michel de Montaigne, who described his work as the essay for the first time. De Montaigne successfully used the term “essay” in order to characterize his works as the “attempts” to transform his ideas into the pieces of writing. Inspired by the masterpieces written by Plutarch, Michel de Montaigne started working on his essays in 1572. The “Essais”, his first edition, was published in 1580 in two volumes. Historians say that till the end of his days de Montaigne was engaged with revising the essays that had been published, as well as producing the new ones. It’s worth mentioning that the essays of Francis Bacon that were published as the first works in English that described themselves as the essays. As for the word “essayist”, it was used for the first time in 1609, by Ben Jonson.
While a lot of people think that the concept of an essay is related to the writing only, it has actually been extended to some other mediums far from the prose. For instance, there is a so called movie essay that is usually incorporated into the styles of the documentary film making in order to help individuals to concentrate on the evolution of a particular idea or a theme. Besides, there’s a photographic essay that is usually composed to cover a certain topic with a range of photographs. In general, the photographic essay may or may not have the captions or text that is accompanying it.