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From ancient influences on the essay as a form of rhetoric to the Irish essay as performance, from British imperial propaganda to African postcolonial resistance, from political pamphlets to the rise of literary professionalism, from gastronomy to ecocriticism, The Cambridge History of the British Essay offers the first authoritative single-volume history of the form's development within the British literary tradition. It restores to the contemporary understanding of the essay an appreciation of its true richness and diversity. The fifty contributors to this volume come from widely diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise that brings out neglected pockets of essayistic activity, by women, by persons of colour, by poets and pamphleteers. Together, they show how the form morphs to serve new contexts and concerns, remaining a vital genre of literary 'attempt' in the fields of journalism, academic study, autobiography and other forms of life writing, and online language arts.
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