Rambler American

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image from Susan Cushman

“The Essay as Red-Headed Stepchild”

The personal essay should be more than the “fourth genre.” It is literary, possessed of a rich tradition, and full of unique possibilities. It deserves to be studied in literature as well as writing classes. It deserves anthologies that emphasize historical and cultural context, and promote extensive critical interpretation. It deserves a diverse and expansive canon full of challenging essays that are read by general readers and scholars alike. And it deserves its own category among the major literary awards.