It was also called, “an entertaining and well-informed man’s after-dinner monolog.” Saintsbury also named it “a piece of prose poetry.” For such metaphysical article as Locke’s Article Concerning Human Understanding or Pope’s Essay on Criticism and Essay on Man such concepts do not apply. Hugh Walker divided the essay into two types-Essays of excellence and works to which the term has been given by tradition. The true essay is pretty much intimate. The composition of English essays is a part of the self-expression literature.Have a look at Writing Elites for more info on this.
Alexander Smith has described the essay par excellence in his paper on English essay writing as a literary form that resembles a poem in so far as it is formed by some core mood-serious, whimsical or satirical. “Because of the atmosphere and the essay expands around it from the first to the last word as the cocoon develops around the silkworm.” The essays are “attempts,” and the attitude of the essay writer decides the guiding principle. Just like in a poem, the author pours out his whole heart delighting in the moving atmosphere of the moment, so the composition of the literary English essay has a pre-eminently subjective nature.
Charles Lamb is the perfector of descriptive, literary and personal essay of the literary kind. Throughout his Indicator, Leigh Hunt resurrected Steele’s tone, calm narration and theme. Jeffrey took up literary criticism in the Edinburgh Review and Hazlitt in his Table Talk and increased the level of literary taste. Yet Hazlitt has to be affable with too much bitterness; De Quincey is often too inventive in his ideas, and florid in his tone. Yet Lamb is charming, creative and critical. The central topic in Elia’s Essays is the imagination of Lamb himself-Lamb responding to his experiences and environments— to existence itself. This one more important aspect of writing the English dissertation.
Walter Pater might say, “With him, as with Montaigne, the desire for self-portraiture is, underneath all the more shallow impulses, the real motive of writing in all-desire connected with that affection, the modern subjectivity that literature may term the Montaignesque dimension.” Lamb’s egotism is combined with an all its own sweetness. His essays bear the unmistakable signature of his lovable personality, and his essays are influenced by bright satire and impished wisdom. Lamb’s English essay writings may be called secret chatters, as they are abundant in autobiographical pathos and deep human emotion.
Lamb’s hat has dropped upon many authors in the new century. Throughout the Victorian era Stevenson followed Lamb’s practice. He may not have Lamb’s same charm and whimsicality, but he has the same type urbanity, the same casual and new approach to commonplace topics. Chesterton works on trifles but by his inimitable style renders the trifles monumental when Hilaire Belloc’s essays are on nothing, everything, everything. Through his English essay essays, he has a simple incisive style in which satire plays an important role.