A moderately brief prose discussion of a restricted topic. A basic and very useful division can, however, be made: formal and informal. Informal Essay: Includes aphoristic essays such as Bacon’s Periodical Essays…. Qualities that make an essay informal include: the personal element, humor, graceful style, rambling structure, unconventionality or novelty, freedom from stiffness and affectation, incomplete or tentative treatment of topic. Formal Essay: Qualities include serious purpose, dignity, logical organization, length. There term may include both short discussions, expository or argumentative. However, a sharp distinction between even formal and informal essays cannot be maintained at all times. (Handbook to Literature)
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A Handbook to Literature. William Harmon.
“Cogito et Histoire de la Folie.” Jacques Derrida.
The Elements of Style. William Strunk.
New Oxford American Dictionary. Edited by Angus Stevenson and Christine A. Lindberg.
The Norton Anthology of World Literature. Martin Puchner, et al.
The Norton Introduction to Philosophy. Gideon Rosen and Alex Byrne.
Woe is I: The Grammarphobe’s Guide to Better English in Plain English. Patricia T. O’Conner
Writing Fiction: A Guide to Narrative Craft. Janet Burroway, Elizabeth Stuckey-French & Ned Stuckey-French.
Writing the Other. Nisi Shawl and Cynthia Ward.« Back to Reference Index