Here is an excerpt from “Required Reading: Expanding the Essay Canon, One Decade at a Time.” The piece first appeared in Creative Nonfiction #43, Fall/Winter 2011. The full text can be accessed here.
The essay is more than the “fourth genre.” It deserves to be studied in literature as well as writing classes. It deserves anthologies that emphasize historical and cultural contexts, and promote extensive critical interpretations. It deserves a diverse and expansive canon full of challenging essays that are read by general readers and scholars alike.