Romantic Period Essayists by T26rpfi


									Romantic Period Essayists
   A Presentation for English 2323
            By Dr. Brenda Cornell
An essay (from the French word essai,
 meaning trial or attempt) is defined as a
 “literary composition devoted to the
 presentation of the writer's own ideas on a
 topic and generally addressing a particular
 aspect of the subject.”


The essay is a European invention, a
 product of the Renaissance period. The
 first writer of essays, who popularized the
 form, was the French writer Montaigne.
 Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) is regarded
 as the “father of the English essay.”
The Romantic Essay
 The development of the form
  may be considered a result of
  the Renaissance emphasis on
  the individual, which fostered
  subjective exploration of one's
  inner self in relation to the
  outside world, a personal
  emphasis and the equivalent
  of lyric poetry in nonfiction
  form. It is easy to see how the
  essay fits into the literature of
  the Romantic period.
Romantic Period Essayists
 Charles Lamb-known by his pen name, Elia. Collected essays titled
  The Essays of Elia. Collaborated with his sister Mary to produce
  Tales from Shakespeare, a children’s book.
 William Hazlitt—essayist and art critic (“On Gusto” is one of his
  pieces, a critique of several art works.
 Thomas de Quincey—”The Prostitute Ann” is one of his
  contemporary portraits, an introspective look at London society.
  This essay is from de Quincey’s well-known collection, Confessions
  of an Opium Eater.
 Mary Wollstonecraft—Vindication of the Rights of Women followed
  on the heels of Thomas Paine’s famous work, Rights of Man.
  Wollstonecraft defended the underprivileged of her own sex (poor in
  many ways but mainly because of their sex).
 The romantic essay, like
  the romantic poem,
  embodies the persona of
  the writer (use of the first
  person pronoun in Lamb
  and de Quincey).
 It represents a struggle
  on the part of the writer to
  make a controlling point
  (thesis) about a certain
  subject, develop it, and
  reach conclusions.
Works Cited

Abrams et. al. The Norton Anthology of
 English Literature. 7th ed. NY: Norton,


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