Depending on the content, form and style of presentation, literary theorists distinguish various types of essays:
- artistic, historical, spiritual and religious;
- stories, letters, diaries, reviews, notes, miniatures;
- descriptive, narrative, critical, analytical;
- subjective, objective.
The boundaries of the essay as a genre are conditional, so the author can use the free style of presentation to share the topic, sharing impressions and judgments about a particular phenomenon, subject or global trends, large-scale events.
Characteristic features of the genre
Specific features distinguish themselves from other types of essay writing:
- Acute topicality topics. The issues raised should be relevant here and now.
- Subjectivity judgments. In the essay, the author’s personality should be clearly expressed through attitudes towards the problem and individualized assessments.
- Movement in the narrative from the particular to the general. Often the role of a point of reference is played by a quotation that can be put into the epigraph. From a single case, the author gradually moves on to generalizing analytical or philosophical arguments about the problem posed at the beginning of the essay. Due to the lack of standards for writing, composition may be reversed – from global conclusions to confirming them in the final parable, proverb, classic wise quotation, an indisputable fact.
- Small volume There are no hard boundaries, but usually an essay takes from two to ten pages of printed text.
- Concrete. In the framework of the essay, only one question is considered – there can be no set of topics or ideas.
- Free composition. This kind of writing does not tolerate any formal framework. Often the presentation is conducted illogically, submitting to random associations, the semantic connections are thought out by the author independently.
- Tendency to paradoxes. One of the tasks of the essay genre is to surprise, amaze the reader. Often, the starting point for reflection is a bright, caustic statement or a polemical definition, setting the tone for the further presentation.
- Ease of narration. The text should not be incomprehensible terms and unnecessarily complex structures. The author should try to gain the trust and sympathy of the reader, to entice with simple and capacious phrases and sentences.
- Dialogue. Conversation with the reader does not imply an essay in the form of replicas, as is done in the play. To achieve the effect of a polemical conversation, rhetorical questions are often used that require a mental answer that does not always coincide with the one suggested by the author.