A Group of English Essayists of the Early Nineteenth Century

A Group of English Essayists of the Early Nineteenth Century

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A Group of English Essayists of the Early Nineteenth Century

A Group of English Essayists of the Early Nineteenth Century

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Excerpt

Very different literary forms have been designated by the common name Essay. In strictness, it is to Montaigne that we owe the name and the thing. His Essais , excellently translated by John Florio in 1583, were at once popular in England, and Bacon, fourteen years later, borrowed their title for his famous little bundles of apothegm. The influence of the Essais , continuing into the next century, increased with the liking for all things French after the Restoration, and is attested by Cotton's new translation in 1680. They evidently furnished the model for those charming discursive papers by Cowley, Halifax, and Temple, which closely resemble some of the best work of Hazlitt or Lamb.

But the sudden and immense popularity of the Tatler and Spectator in the Queen Anne time brought into prominence another type of the essay. It is the peculiar praise of Addison that he knew how . . .

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