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Encyclopedia > Essayist

An essayist is an author who writes compositions which can be about any particular subject. The essay is (usually) shorter and (mostly) more tentative than a formal finished monograph or treatise. The word author has several meanings: The author of a book, story, article or the like, is the person who has written it (or is writing it). ... The term writer can apply to anyone who creates a written work, but the word more usually designates those who write creatively or professionally, or those who have written in many different forms. ... An essay is a short work that treats of a topic from an authors personal point of view, often taking into account subjective experiences and personal reflections upon them. ... A monograph is a scholarly book or a treatise on a single subject, class of subjects, or person. ... A treatise is a systematic analysis of a certain subject. ...


The essay was a favourite form of the man of letters, allowing a display of understated reading and culture. In recent years it has also been used with greater acuity, and more definite political intent. An intellectual is a person who uses his or her intellect to study, reflect, and speculate on a variety of different ideas. ...


A representative list of famous essayists:

Caricature from Punch, 1881: Admit that Homer sometimes nods, That poets do write trash, Our Bard has written Balder Dead, And also Balder-dash Matthew Arnold and(24 December 1822 – 15 April 1888) was an English poet and cultural critic, who worked as an inspector of schools. ... Sir Francis Bacon Francis Bacon, 1st Viscount St Albans, KC (22 January 1561 – 9 April 1626) was an English philosopher, statesman, spy, freemason and essayist. ... Photograph of Belloc Joseph Hilaire Pierre René Belloc (July 27, 1870 - July 16, 1953) was one of the most prolific writers in England during the early twentieth century. ... William Cobbett (March 9, 1763–June 18, 1835) was a radical agriculturist and prolific journalist. ... Thomas de Quincey (August 15, 1785 – December 8, 1859) was an English author and intellectual. ... Ralph Waldo Emerson Ralph Waldo Emerson (May 25, 1803 – April 27, 1882) was a famous American essayist and one of Americas most influential thinkers and writers. ... William Hazlitt (10 April 1778 – 18 September 1830) was an English writer remembered for his humanistic essays and literary criticism, often esteemed the greatest English literary critic after Samuel Johnson. ... Hugh Hood - born in Toronto, Ontario, April 30, 1928, died in Montreal, Quebec, August 1, 2000 - was a novelist, short story writer, essayist and university professor. ... James Henry Leigh Hunt (October 19, 1784 - August 28, 1859) was an English essayist and writer. ... Samuel Johnson circa 1772, painted by Sir Joshua Reynolds. ... Charles Lamb (1775- 27 July 1834) was an English essayist, best known for his Essays of Elia and for the childrens book Tales from Shakespeare, which he produced along with his sister, Mary Lamb. ... Michel de Montaigne Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592) was an influential French Renaissance writer, generally considered to be the inventor of the personal essay. ... Joyce Carol Oates (born June 16, 1938 in Lockport, New York) is an American writer of novels, stories, plays, poetry, and non-fiction, known for being one of the most prolific of authors of literary merit. ... George Orwell Eric Arthur Blair (25 June 1903 – 21 January 1950), better known by the pen name George Orwell, was a British author. ... Katherine Ann Porter (15 May 1890 - 18 September 1980) was a celebrated American journalist, essayist, short story writer and novelist. ... Bertrand Russell The Right Honourable Bertrand Arthur William Russell, 3rd Earl Russell, OM, FRS (18 May 1872—2 February 1970), was an influential British mathematician, philosopher, and logician, working mostly in the 20th century. ... John Ralston Saul His Excellency Dr. John Ralston Saul, CC , Ph. ... Susan Sontag Susan Sontag (January 28, 1933 – December 28, 2004) was a well-known American essayist, novelist, left-leaning intellectual and controversial activist. ... Giles Lytton Strachey (March 1, 1880–January 21, 1932) was a British writer and critic. ... The tone of this article is inappropriate for an encyclopedia. ... Dame Rebecca West, DBE was the pseudonym of Cecily (or Cicily) Isabel Fairfield (December 21, 1892- March 15, 1983), a British-Irish feminist and writer famous for her novels and for her relationship with H. G. Wells. ... Elwyn Brooks White (July 11, 1899–October 1, 1985) was an American essayist, author, and noted prose stylist. ... Virginia Woolf (January 25, 1882 – March 28, 1941) was a British author and feminist, who is considered to be one of the foremost modernist literary figures of the twentieth century. ... Richard Wagner Wilhelm Richard Wagner (May 22, 1813 in Leipzig – February 13, 1883 in Venice) was an influential German composer, conductor, music theorist, and essayist, primarily known for his groundbreaking symphonic-operas (or music dramas). His compositions are notable for their continuous contrapuntal texture, rich harmonies and orchestration, and elaborate...

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