The Age of the Essay

Check out this essay I found at

Every once in a while (usually several times a day in my case, as it happens), you read something that makes you think: “Yes, that’s it; that’s exactly right. I hadn’t thought of it before, but that’s just the way it is.”

Reading this essay gave me one of those moments to such an intensity that I thought, “My students really need to read this.”

So please do read it, and tell me what you think.

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5 Responses to The Age of the Essay

  1. Mr Heald says:

    Note the blogging convention used above, which Where it says ‘this essay’ that is a link to the essay I’m writing about. Then the ‘’ link is to the homepage of his website.

    You will find that many websites make use of that convention of giving links within the text itself rather than giving you the full URL (web address).

  2. Ciretta says:

    “Surely this is a lowly sort of thing to be interested in– the sort of superficial quizzing best left to teenage girls.”
    Didn’t appreciate that comment whatsoever!

    I think this is an interesting take on Essay Writing, and particularily enjoyed the writer’s use of homorous metaphors/similies. However, it’s a lot of ‘rambling’ for something basically saying:
    ask questions and then answer them – teaching the reader something they didn’t already know.
    Maybe I am being negative because of the comment I quoted above, that completely put me off the article.

  3. Mr Heald says:

    Heck yeah, Ciretta! There’s a lesson there: one thoughtless comment out of place and your message can be holed under the waterline. I hadn’t even noticed the ‘teenage girl’ comment, probably on account of my not being a teenage girl. But now you’ve pointed it out it does look needlessly patronising.

    As for your other criticism, I’d hope as a budding journalist that you’d accept that that there is – and should be – more to writing than its reducible content. Your summary of the main thrust of his argument is a pretty neat one, I think, but to dismiss the way that it’s expressed as ‘rambling’ looks, well, a bit naïve: the sort of superficial judgement best left to teenage girls ;-P

  4. Sophie Devine says:

    I agree with Ciretta about the girl part of the comment. Also, I don’t find this article at all fascinating and personally this puts me off the true idea of English for me.

    ‘With the result that writing is made to seem boring and pointless. Who cares about symbolism in Dickens? Dickens himself would be more interested in an essay about color or baseball.’

    I don’t find this comment at all true, because Dicken’s is widely respected from a lot of readers, and I for one – who hates literature, actually likes Dicken’s’ novels. So his argument there is just pointless. I don’t see the humour and I don’t find the writer relevant. This has made me quite annoyed..

  5. Ciretta says:

    Sir, you remind me greatly of my father. Whether that is a bad thing or not I do not know.
    I suppose what I was trying to say is that I wasn’t really interested in the article, and therefore reading it all was a bit of a chore. At first I was like: “Wow, this seems really interesting!” Then the writer ruined it for me with the sexist comment – from then on I could only see negative after negative. It’s a shame really, I did enjoy it at first. And to be honest, if anyone ‘rambles’ when they write it’s myself.
    Basically, I don’t think I can ever have a good word to say about this article now!

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