An essay is something the article writer writes himself. An essay is something the essayist will by himself. For the article we might go to Cicero or Plato back. Cicero handled abstract topics with an enchanting background. Plato talked about speculative and ethical problems of life and attempted to discover a philosophical interest.
The English temperament lacks the charm of Montaigne. They are prejudiced too, secretive, carefully guarded about their privacy. But Lord Brougham proved that one can maintain privacy at exactly the same time display oneself. Sir Thomas Browne’s Religio Medici or Urn Burial included essays of complex rhetorical style. Addison in The Spectator dealt with sensitive humour. Charles Lamb dealt with the passionate and homely.
De Quincy wrote impassioned autobiography while Pater used the article for exquisite artistic sensation. In every these writings the common strain is the non-public element, the essay demonstrates the personality of the author. An essayist is not just a poet. An essayist deals to some extent with humour. But humour is alien to poetry which is more of the sacred and solemn feeling.
The poet is psychological, reverential, excitable, searching for the sublime and the uplifted. He desires to transcend the mundane petty daily frets, the discordant, undignified components of life. The similarity of the essayist with the poet is that an essayist can also make an effort to kindle feelings. But an essayist uses the most typical materials of life and transforms simple experiences with a fairy tale delicacy and intimate glow.
Behind all kinds of art whether, whether poetry or prose lies the process of question, of arrested attention. It do not need to only be the sense of beauty, but the sense of fitness also, strangeness, completeness, effective effort. The amazement a savage feels on viewing a civilized city is not the sense of beauty however the sense of power, mysterious resources, incredible products, unintelligible things.
He also sees the grotesque, absurd, amusing and jocose. The essayist handles these basic emotions. He filters out the salient matters from these instinctive records and feelings them in impressive language. So an essayist is a spectator of life. The essayist must have largeness of mind. He cannot simply enjoy his activity whether of a politician or a thief with the sole objective of making profit. He can’t be prejudiced in his favours, i.e. he ought not to hate his competitors and favour his friends.
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If he condemns, despises, disapproves he loses sympathy. He must have an all encompassing brain to enjoy all he believes worth documenting, rather than be narrow minded. Close jacketed persons such as a banker, interpersonal reformer, forensic pleader, fanatic, puritan or crank can’t be an essayist. The essayist has to be broadminded but not moral. He must be tolerant, he must discern quality, he must get worried with the overall picture of life regarding the setting and people, not objectives and aims.
The attraction of the essayist lies in translating a feeling of good humour, graciousness, sensible nature and in your time and effort to establish a pleasant companionship with the audience. One does not read the article for description or information, but to find a satisfactory solution to a mass of entangled problems which occur in our daily lives and inside our interactions with people. The essayist would take up some issue of daily life and explore it to discover known reasons for our fitful activities, known reasons for our appeal or repulsion towards people and make an effort to suggest a theory for it.
Reading an essay a audience should be compelled to confess that he previously thought in the same vein but got never discerned the bond. The essayist must consider human being weakness, not human being power. But while accepting human being weakness he must try to infuse flashes of idealism in them. He should retain in mind that human being mind in spite of weakness is capable of idealism, passionate visions, irresponsible humour which may shoot from boring cloudy thoughts.
The job of the essayist is to help make the reader realize his self worth, that each human brain is with the capacity of finding something big and remote control which however may not continually be clear in our minds. Human nature is indecisive, it vacillates. The essayist therefore eventually teaches that life is not about success but in fullness just. Success might blur our vision of life and make a person filled with self importance.