Should I fear reactions when I write an entry in English on my blog? Frankly, my dear, there’s a reason. I’m trying to write an essay for my studies, and during the last week, I have read several essays and definitions of the genre essay. This subsequently led to speculations as to whether there is a difference between writing an essay in the English/American sense of the word, and writing an essay in French or Norwegian or not.
I have written essays in English in days of American high school and in England where I was tutored in Scandinavian language and literature by Brits. The essay, as it appeared in British examination papers, was merely non-fictional writing; an analysis or an article etc but not mental journeys as those written by Michel de Montaigne during the 16th century. In our master studies, we seek inspiration in Montaigne, the essayist par excellence, followed by Ludvig Holberg and the brilliant Norwegian writer Aasmund Olavson Vinje. They all debated contemporary ideas from their otium, their leisure, in a quite challenging form, and their texts were philosophical and crafted in a sophisticated language far away from today’s school essay. Unfortunately it’ s all in Norwegian.
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