The writer and philosopher M. Montaigne, who lived in France in the 16th century, was the author of the first essays (translated from French. – Attempt, trial), called “Experiments”. These were small essays expressing the author’s personal attitude to the problems of war and peace, citizenship, politics, pedagogy, and many other topics that worried the writer during different periods of his life. He wrote “Experiments” throughout his life, having had time to leave his opinion on almost everything.
Such a spontaneous narration was appreciated by readers and writers, the last of which, the so-called essayists, exploited this genre with success and left behind not only serious novels, stories and stories, but also a huge legacy of wonderful essays. In small, free-form essays, they could express their thoughts, impressions, judgments on a variety of topics, criticism and much more. Thanks to these small essays, we can learn and understand the atmosphere that prevailed in the intellectual society of the time.
The most famous essayists include: Oscar Wilde, George Byron, Thomas Mann, Joseph Brodsky, Vladimir Nabokov, Fyodor Dostoevsky and many others.
The main and decisive, distinguishing from other genres, condition of the essay is the subjective opinion of the author, his emotions, thoughts, reasonings, which reveal only one topic. Disclosure of the topic, the author’s opinion may not contain a professional or scientific approach and be expressed in an arbitrary manner, be even paradoxical and not claiming a generally accepted position.
An essay used as a task for independent student work will help them learn to formulate their thoughts, put them on paper, analyze the initial data, argue their position, build causal relationships in their conclusions, draw logical conclusions and much more.
The structure of the essay consists of introduction, main part and conclusion. The jurisdiction substantiates the relevance and significance of the proposed topic, some aspects that allow a logical transition to the main part. The division into introduction, main part and conclusion is conditional, since the main part continues the disclosure of the topic, and in conclusion, the author’s position is summarized.
The content of the essay can be philosophical, historical, journalistic, critical and relate to different forms – notes, reviews, etc. The defining features of an essay are the presence of a specific topic, a subjective judgment, characterized by a novelty of impression.
An essay is a subjective work, but only good argumentation, accurate representation of one’s thoughts, their distribution in strict sequence, illustrated with materials, will allow writing worthy literary work.