During the Age of Enlightenment, essays were a favored tool of polemicists who aimed at convincing readers of their position; they also featured heavily in the rise of periodical literature, as seen in the works of Joseph Addison, Richard Steele and Samuel Johnson.
This section describes the different forms and styles of essay writing.
These forms and styles are used by an array of authors, including university students and professional essayists.
Compare and contrast essays are characterized by a basis for comparison, points of comparison, and analogies.
It is grouped by the object (chunking) or by point (sequential).
In Italy, Baldassare Castiglione wrote about courtly manners in his essay Il Cortigiano.
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In the 17th century, the Jesuit Baltasar Gracián wrote about the theme of wisdom.
Furthermore, Huxley argues that "essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference".
These three poles (or worlds in which the essay may exist) are: Huxley adds that the most satisfying essays "..the best not of one, not of two, but of all the three worlds in which it is possible for the essay to exist." The word essay derives from the French infinitive essayer, "to try" or "to attempt".
Kenkō described his short writings similarly to Montaigne, referring to them as "nonsensical thoughts" written in "idle hours".
Another noteworthy difference from Europe is that women have traditionally written in Japan, though the more formal, Chinese-influenced writings of male writers were more prized at the time.