The Essay

May 1, 2010 | Scandinavia House | New York City

With Quim Monzó, Peter Schneider, and Jean-Philippe Toussaint; moderated by Susan Harris, editorial director, Words Without Borders

Co-sponsored by The American-Scandinavian Foundation, the Cultural Services of the French Embassy, and Words Without Borders

Almost all modern essays are written in prose, but works in verse such as Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism and An Essay on Man contribute to the form’s rich history. Brevity is often a defining principle, but the opposite holds true as well, with examples such as John Locke’s voluminous An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. These writers, all of them accomplished essayists, discuss the form—its great history, its restraints, freedoms, and challenges.


• Mindy AloffI’ve often wondered what an essay is—how it differs from fiction, for example, or prose-poetry, or even from reporting. [more]

• Molly McQuade: An impish, frisky conversation about what lies between the essay and every other kind of writing led a trio of panelists to disagree, but amiably, at Scandinavia House on Saturday… [more]


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