Chapter 1, Forerunners
• The first section deals with some of the founders and precursors to the personal essay.
• Seneca is known as the founder of the essay, and was a member of the Stoic school of philosophy.
• Seneca's essay subjects include Noise and Slaves.
• Plutarch is known as the world's first great biographer.
• In "Consolation to His Wife," Plutarch consoles his wife over the death of their daughter.
• Sei Shonagon was a 10th-century Japanese woman who wrote frankly about subjects like bedroom behavior.
• In "Hateful Things," Shonagon makes a list of everything that she hates.
• Kenko was a Buddhist monk and a court official.
• Kenko's "Essays in Idleness" covers a number of subjects.
• In "Essays in Idleness," Kenko advises the reader to face death as if he or she was charging into battle.
• Ou-Yank Hsiu was a master of Chinese classical prose, who wrote on a number of subjects...
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