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Why have certain kinds of documentary and non-narrative films emerged as the most interesting, exciting, and provocative movies made in the last twenty years? Ranging from the films of Ross McElwee (Bright Leaves) and Agnes Varda (The Gleaners and I) to those of Abbas Kiarostami (Close Up) and Ari Folman (Waltz with Bashir), such films have intrigued viewers who at the same time have struggled to categorize them. Sometimes described as personal documentaries or diary films, these eclectic works are, rather, best understood as cinematic variations on the essay. So argues Tim Corrigan in this stimulating and necessary new book. Since Michel de Montaigne, essays have been seen as a lively literary category, and yet--despite the work of pioneers like Chris Marker--seldom discussed as a cinematic tradition. The Essay Film, offering a thoughtful account of the long rapport between literature and film as well as novel interpretations and theoretical models, provides the ideas that will change this.
This is a book on how to read the essay, one that demonstrates how reading is inextricably tied to the art of writing. It aims to treat the essay with the close attention that has been given to other literary genres, and in doing so it suggests the beauty and depth of the form as a whole. At once personal appreciations and acute critical assessments, the pieces collected here broaden our perspective on the essay as a major literary art, tracing its history from William Hazlitt to Joan Didion.
This groundbreaking new source of international scope defines the essay as nonfictional prose texts of between one and 50 pages in length. The more than 500 entries by 275 contributors include entries on nationalities, various categories of essays such as generic (such as sermons, aphorisms), individual major works, notable writers, and periodicals that created a market for essays, and particularly famous or significant essays. The preface details the historical development of the essay, and the alphabetically arranged entries usually include biographical sketch, nationality, era, selected writings list, additional readings, and anthologies
The first historically and internationally comprehensive collection of its kind, Essayists on the Essay is a path-breaking work that is nothing less than a richly varied sourcebook for anyone interested in the theory, practice, and art of the essay. This unique work includes a selection of fifty distinctive pieces by American, Canadian, English, European, and South American essayists from Montaigne to the present—many of which have not previously been anthologized or translated—as well as a detailed bibliographical and thematic guide to hundreds of additional works about the essay. From a buoyant introduction that provides a sweeping historical and analytic overview of essayists’ thinking about their genre—a collective poetics of the essay—to the detailed headnotes offering pointed information about both the essayists themselves and the anthologized selections, to the richly detailed bibliographic sections, Essayists on the Essay is essential to anyone who cares about the form. This collection provides teachers, scholars, essayists, and readers with the materials they need to take a fresh look at this important but often overlooked form that has for too long been relegated to the role of service genre—used primarily to write about other more “literary” genres or to teach young people how to write. Here, in a single celebratory volume, are four centuries of commentary and theory reminding us of the essay’s storied history, its international appeal, and its relationship not just with poetry and fiction but also with radio, film, video, and new media.
Provides 72 essays of varied themes that range from the 16th century to the 20th century. Based on the essayistic tradition, the essays cover a wide range of topics, including personal identity, family relationships, character types, the animal kingdom, town and country, education, mortality, the national pastime, language, social and political issues, freedom of opinion, the sexes, and the art of the essay. For courses on advanced composition, freshman composition, and essay as literature.
The essay—with its emphasis on the provisional and explorative rather than on definitive statements—has evolved from its literary beginnings and is now found in all mediums, including film. Today, the essay film is, arguably, one of the most widely acclaimed and critically discussed forms of filmmaking around the world, with practitioners such as Chris Marker, Hito Steyerl, Errol Morris, Trinh T. Minh-ha, and Rithy Panh. Characteristics of the essay film include the blending of fact and fiction, the mixing of art- and documentary-film styles, the foregrounding of subjective points of view, a concentration on public life, a tension between acoustic and visual discourses, and a dialogic encounter with audiences. This anthology of fundamental statements on the essay film offers a range of crucial historical and philosophical perspectives. It provides early critical articulations of the essay film as it evolved through the 1950s and 1960s, key contemporary scholarly essays, and a selection of writings by essay filmmakers. It features texts on the foundations of the essay film by writers such as Hans Richter and André Bazin; contemporary positions by, among others, Phillip Lopate and Michael Renov; and original essays by filmmakers themselves, including Laura Mulvey and Isaac Julien.
Following on from Writers at Work: The Paragraph and Writers at Work: the Short Composition, Writers at Work: The Essay will teach the basics of academic essay writing to intermediate-level students. In Writers at Work: The Essay, college and university students use the process approach to write different genres of essays common at the post-secondary level, the most important being expository writing, persuasive writing, and timed essay exams. Each chapter uses the same five-step approach to writing that is used in the two lower-level books. In each chapter, students analyze a model essay, noticing key organizational and linguistic features; brainstorm ideas; write multiple drafts; revise their work; engage in peer reviews; and share their finished work. Chapters recycle and build upon previously taught material.

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