The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Test | Mid-Book Test - Hard

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This test consists of 5 short answer questions, 10 short essay questions, and 1 (of 3) essay topics.

Short Answer Questions

1. At which university did Abraham Cowley study?

2. What does "Pleasure Boat Studio" refer to?

3. What is Montaigne's view on quoting and crediting other authors?

4. What physical condition does Seneca discuss in a titular essay?

5. What tragedy did Charles Lamb's family endure?

Short Essay Questions

1. How are the writings of Montaigne structured?

2. Why are Richard Steele and Joseph Addison so often presented as a literary pair, as they are in this volume?

3. Provide some biographical information on Plutarch? What was his contribution to world literature?

4. What is the subject of Abraham Cowley's "Of Greatness"? What point does Abraham Cowley make?

5. What philosophy of death does Plutarch advise in "Consolation to His Wife?"

6. As expressed in "On Some Verses of Virgil," what does Montaigne have to say about the nature of the sexes?

7. Name three things that Sei Shonagon declares her dislike for in "Hateful Things."

8. What is dealt with by Kenko in his essay "Essays in Idleness?"

9. Why is Samuel Johnson famous? What kind of essays did he write?

10. What idea sparks Montaigne to write after his first book is a success?

Essay Topics

Write an essay for ONE of the following topics:

Essay Topic 1

Ambition is the topic of both Abraham Cowley's "Of Greatness" and Seymour Krim's "For My Brothers and Sisters in the Failure Business"?

A) Contrast the tone of each essay. What might tone reveal about the author's own state of mind?

B) What message does each author have the audience? What should the reader take away from the essay?

C) What advice might Cowley have for Krim?

Essay Topic 2

"Essays in Idleness" by Kenko and "An Apology for Idlers" by Robert Louis Stevenson provide musings on idleness.

A) How does each author view idleness? Can idleness be valuable? What are the advantages and disadvantages of being idle?

B) Compare the forms of each essay. Kenko wrote a journal, while Stevenson is offering an "apology." How does form relate to content in each case?

Essay Topic 3

Physical conditions are the subject of Seneca's "Asthma" and Jose Luis Borge's "Blindness."

A) How does each man confront his condition? What is each man's attitude?

B) Seneca's philosophy is said to be Stoic. How does Borge's philosophy, as revealed in "Blindness," compare to the Stoic philosophy?

(see the answer keys)

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