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Related: literature - pamphlet - personal point of view
List of essays: Against Interpretation (1964) - Susan Sontag - Notes on Camp (1964) - Susan Sontag - Subjection of Women (1869) - John Stuart Miller - The Painter of Modern Life (1863) - Charles Baudelaire - The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction (1935) - Walter Benjamin - Avant-Garde and Kitsch (1939) - Clement Greenberg
An essay is a discussion of a topic from an author's personal point of view, as influenced by subjective experience and personal reflection. Topics may include actual happenings, issues of human life, morality, ethics, religion and many others. An essay is, by definition, nonfiction and often expository.
Michel de Montaigne was the first to produce such writings (or at least was the first acknowledged to have done so) with his Essais, which were first published in 1580. Montaigne, trying to get over the loss of his close friend, confidant, and perhaps, lover, Etienne de la Boetie, coined the term 'essai' from the french verb essayer meaning, 'to try'. Ostensibly Montaigne was 'essaying' to replace the loss of his conversational partner, La Boetie, with conversations with himself. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essay 
Essays (1580) - Michel de Montaigne
Essays is the title of a book written by Michel de Montaigne that was first published in 1580. Montaigne essentially invented the literary form of essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic, of which the book contains a large number. Essai is French for "trial" or "attempt". --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essays_%28Montaigne%29 [Nov 2005]
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