The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 30 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Art of the Personal Essay.
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The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Summary & Study Guide Description

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate.

The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present by Phillip Lopate is a book that compiles dozens of essays from writers that come from different parts of the world and different eras in time. Each of these essays has been picked for their influence on the way the personal essay has evolved throughout history.

The book begins by looking at essay writers that were born around 3 A.D. and the way that their essays were written. The subjects and language style often make it easy to see how much different things have changed. The subjects by these authors will reflect the times and the culture. There is a man that talks about losing his young daughter and how he is sorry he will miss the funeral because he is in a distant place and cannot make it home in time. There is another author that talks about a temple that he has gone to. Sometimes these essays will contain information about daily life, such as public bathhouses. The next chapter in the book deals with only one author, Michel de Montaigne. There are several essays about Montaigne and he is commented on by other essay writers later on in the book as inspiration.

The book goes in chronological order from when the essayists were born in each chapter. The next chapter in the book focuses on "The Rise of the English Essay." While this chapter deals with essays that are easier to understand it is clear that the era in time is still much different from our own. In this chapter the writers include some that are grouped together, such as Addison and Steele, and Virginia Woolf and George Orwell.

As the book moves on it will look at other cultures and their contributions to the essay. These will include Japanese, Chinese, and German writers, and essayists from many other cultures. These essay writers will touch on things important in their cultures and lives and consequently it is difficult to relate to some of the issues they approach. Some of these authors endured many hardships such as persecution from the Nazis and false imprisonment for their outspoken views.

The final chapter in the book deals with American essay writers and their effect on the personal essay. The subjects talked about in this chapter are much easier for the average person to relate to since they are issues we still deal with today. Their subjects include racial issues, political issues, the effect we are having on the environment and many others.

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This section contains 431 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Art of the Personal Essay: An Anthology from the Classical Era to the Present Study Guide
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