Reading Essays: An Invitation

By G. Douglas Atkins | Go to book overview

PREFACE

FOR MORE THAN FIFTY YEARS, poetry, fiction, and drama have been read closely. And although the age of literary exegesis seems to have passed, the resulting industry established strong factories that have not and probably will not collapse but have, instead, morphed into new cubicles of analysis. The heyday of so-called critical readings was also, as it happens, the lowest point in the essay’s four-hundred-year history. Joseph Wood Krutch declared “No Essays, Please” in 1951 just as the exegetical industry was approaching its most productive period with its most impressive and lasting contributions to our understanding of the major genres, the works comprising them, and the incumbent questions of how to read. The essay seemed not to need close attention, analysis, or helpful commentary.

In the past twenty years, roughly, the essay has shown its resiliency and asserted its birthright and in the process has made clear how premature were the cries of its imminent demise. In fact the essay is now in the midst of something of a renaissance, writers and readers alike turning to it for the opportunities and rewards often and lamentably unavailable in poetry, fiction, and drama. Arguably, the form has never been so popular—so important, indeed, that ours has been termed “the age of the essay.” Hyperbole aside, college and university curricula and the textbooks that support them, as well as academic journals, have begun to accept, or declare, the essay—or at least “nonfiction”—as the “fourth genre.” (I dislike both “nonfiction”— for its invidiousness—and “creative nonfiction”—for, among other faults, its inelegance.)

Nothing has yet emerged to parallel such determinative texts as the nowlegendary Understanding Poetry and Understanding Fiction, nor have teachers and commentators yet been swift to offer “readings” of individual essays, thus to assist students and faculty alike in the burgeoning courses in the essay. In the following pages, I am unabashedly old-fashioned, although

-xi-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Reading Essays: An Invitation
Table of contents

Table of contents

Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 276

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.