What is an essay? And why is an “essay” and not a “written work”?

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I quote one of the numerical definitions of the concept of “essay”: Essay (French essai – attempt, test, essay) – a prose statement of a small volume and a relatively free composition, in which the author manifests his views on the chosen topic (problem).

This type of written work has a long history. His initiator is the French thinker Michelle Montaigne (1533-1592), author of the famous “Samples” (Russian “Experiments”) – written reflections on important ethical and philosophical problems, in which his “I”, i.e., author’s individuality, is clearly manifested. This is a very natural form of reflection and started the genre of essay (in the Ukrainian language, the word meets the “essay”). Its naturalness is that it directly, without “artistic” mediation, expresses an individual reflection. In addition, in “Samples” Montaigne manifested a certain amount of liberty, they freely combined reflections, observations, personal memories, examples and descriptions, quotations and even jokes. In the XIX-XIX centuries. The essay became popular in the English philosophical (mainly) science journalism. It can be said that writers and poets often resort to it – this is a “genre without shores.” The main thing is that there was thought, reflection, individuality and a high culture of expression.

The concept of “essay” includes a huge genre experience. While such concepts as “written essay”, “creative work” is associated with school writing writing. In the last decades, due to certain reasons (here a wide range of ready-to-write articles that overwhelm relevant internet sites and print media such as “Golden Works on Ukrainian Literature” has played a role), the gradual withdrawal of the notion of “written essay” is taking place. His place replaces the genre of essay in his educational variant.

Why writing an essay has become an important form of learning?

Indeed, writing an essay is a prevalent form of study in modern both in the medium and in higher education. Its educational effectiveness is determined by several factors: firstly, the writing process maximizes the intellectual capabilities of the student / student, since it not only makes him actively reflect on the problem (subject, issue), which needs writing, but also to look for optimal forms of expression that itself by itself, is an important factor in mental development. The process of writing a successful essay can be compared to a crucible, in which a new, more organized quality of thinking and utterance is generated at high temperatures (that is, in the stress of intellectual forces).

Brett Owens

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