The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate is a book that compiles dozens of essays from writers that come from different parts of the world and different eras in time. Each of these essays has been picked for their influence on the way the personal essay has evolved throughout history.
I'm just going to attach some of my responses on the form and content of selected essays. It can be daunting to try and sift through the entire anthology, so I hope this can help someone: Consolation to His Wife by Plutarch Content: It is clear as we read this that he admires h As I have been working on some of my own personal essays from my travels in India, this was like my Bible.
It is interesting to see this kind of marriage dynamic and to get a glimpse at some of the cultural values of his society. This was written before AD, and there are some practices that are definitely different from what we would be accustomed to. For one, mourning is not really appropriate, and actually against the law The advice given to his wife was clear on that, and he commended her for handling it so well.
Yet, some things are similar, and some of the advice might be as applicable today as it was over a thousand years ago. Since she had no way of knowing what she was deprived of, they should therefore not mourn the loss of potential. One of the other things notable about this letter was that, beautiful as it was, Plutarch seemed to betray no emotion.
That would probably be a societal value as well. The most notable thing about this form is that it is written as a letter to his wife.
She is the audience, and he writes directly to her. Yet, the messages and the formal way he writes make it universal. The form of the letter really does kind of wrap up the comments on form.
It has an intended audience and flows organically wherever the topic comes to. He does not change voice, use flashback, or anything like that. There are a lot of rhetorical questions though, which is probably a notable device, and the letter is somewhat of an argument meant to persuade not just his wife, but others, the appropriate way to behave after a death.
It is essentially a commentary on two different love letters to Romana to prove a point about the complexity of what women want in a guy.
Tale as old as time! It begins and ends with an overarching commentary but includes two letters from outside voices. The two letters are almost exactly the same as far as style and length, but the first Careless is vain and silly, while the second Constant is formal and boring.
Yet, the last paragraph that sums up the point does not come out with a didactic moral of the story kind of line. Instead, the last line is left to Romana, who sums it up for us.
This was also very impersonal. We got minimal details about the actual narrator.
It was not necessarily easy to figure out right away what Stevenson was talking about. I like this argument. Marriage is a lot of work and I think a lot of kids in my ward could benefit from this.
My parents taught me well how much work marriage is, but I think many of my friends see it as the answer to their problems. I think marriage is something wonderful and something I now look forward to though that was not always the casebut it needs to stop being idealized as a fix-all solution.
This was meant to be a persuasive essay.
Stevenson obviously has a lot of feeling on the subject because of personal experience as the biography statesbut he leaves it pretty impersonal. In fact, before I read the biography and casually skimmed this essay I misunderstood it completely, thinking that Stevenson was arguing that marriage anything but a positive experience.
It is not very concrete and does not give many concrete examples, which might be one reason why it is kind of difficult to wade through. Along with that the organization is like most of the essays from this time, go with the flow till you reach the conclusion.
What I can gather is that the essays starts on one large sentence on hope, goes through a few abstractions, and then argues them. It takes a few paragraphs to get to the point, which is very unlike a more modern essay form.The Art of the Personal Essay is the first anthology to celebrate this fertile genre.
By presenting more than seventy-five personal essays, including influential forerunners from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Far East, masterpieces from the dawn of the personal essay in the sixteenth century, and a wealth of the finest personal essays from the.
This class is not currently available. Long live the versatility of essay! Of all the genres, essays might be the most expansive. They let you tell stories. They explore ideas. They encourage you to reject easy conclusions, instead granting you the freedom to revel in questions and curiosities.
It. The Art of the Personal Essay is the first anthology to celebrate this fertile genre. By presenting more than seventy-five personal essays, including influential forerunners from ancient Greece, Rome, and the Far East, masterpieces from the dawn of the personal essay in the sixteenth century, and a wealth of the finest personal essays from the.
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The Art of the Personal Essay by Phillip Lopate While it may be argued that the essays themselves reveal the most about the history and form of this genre, Phillip Lopate's introduction is a wonderful (and quite amusing) way to get to know the personal essay.