In the 18th and 19th centuries, Edmund Burke and Samuel Taylor Coleridge wrote essays for the general public.
The early 19th century, in particular, saw a proliferation of great essayists in English – William Hazlitt, Charles Lamb, Leigh Hunt and Thomas de Quincey all penned numerous essays on diverse subjects. Virginia Woolf, Edmund Wilson, and Charles du Bos wrote literary criticism essays.
He muses on heritage, boats, and the sea; ponders how living in the shadow of a volcano shapes a person; and ties the physical world to deeper themes of human life, such as relationships and personal tragedies. So, too, are Mathison’s beautifully written travels across the landscapes of geography, family, marriage, love, catastrophe, and resilience.
Volcano: An A to Z is a book to be read and returned to again and again.” Neil Mathison is an essayist and short story writer who lives in Seattle, Washington, Friday Harbor, Washington, and Ketchum, Idaho.
She works one-on-one with learning disabled students at Landmark College in Putney, Vermont, and lives in Walpole, New Hampshire.
An essay is, generally, a piece of writing that gives the author's own argument — but the definition is vague, overlapping with those of a paper, an article, a pamphlet, and a short story.
Secondary students are taught structured essay formats to improve their writing skills; admission essays are often used by universities in selecting applicants, and in the humanities and social sciences essays are often used as a way of assessing the performance of students during final exams.
The concept of an "essay" has been extended to other media beyond writing.
Essays have traditionally been sub-classified as formal and informal.
Formal essays are characterized by "serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length," whereas the informal essay is characterized by "the personal element (self-revelation, individual tastes and experiences, confidential manner), humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty of theme," etc.