Monday, February 25, 2019

Insights? Conclusions? Maybe.

Nancy Mairs, on the essay (and why I like it): "An essay is not the same as reportage, although it may subsume reportage as it may do poetry and narrative also; As a writer, I like best the flexibility
of the essay, its stylistic inclusiveness."
It may recount facts one moment, sing about them lyrically or raucously in the next, weave them into stories, transform them into lessons, toss them aside in the end. Strictly speaking, an essay is just what Michel de Montaigne meant when he named the genre: a test or a trial of an idea, which may lead to a firm, unambiguous conclusion but probably, in my experience, will not. In short, although an essay may offer insights into the truths of human being, it will never yield the capital-t Truth, for the not-so-simple reason that no such entity exists.


 
Photo of Mairs via Arizona Daily Star.

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