Wednesday, June 17, 2015


The most general definition describes it as, “an essay is the literature of ideas”.  This means that aesthetic preoccupation and creation of expressive resources are added to utilitarian eagerness: approach and debate of current topics. Rodrigo Zeledon (1982) employs essays in order to “raise the interest of younger generations in the attractiveness of problems that come across in the broad field of the biological sciences”.

Another definition is attributed to J. Ortega and Gasset, in which they state, “an essay is science without proof”. This highlights the fact that an essay isn’t an irresponsible discourse but rather a text, which makes obvious the theoretical apparatus and the dryness of formulas in order to increase its readability and explicative capacity. José L. Vega Carballo (1979) points out the analytic scheme of one of his essays, “the here mentioned text should not be considered final or exhaustive, however, it is rather an approximation based on a global examination”.

The last definition proposed by Alfonso Reyes describes, “an essay is the literature in its most ancillary function”.  The word “ancillary”, meaning support, permits to express the subordinate role that the ornamental and imaginative has within this genre of writing. To this respect, Gómez de Baquero (1917) mentions, “an essay is located between the borders of two kingdoms: that of didactic literature and that of poetry, and makes excursions between both”.


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