University of Iowa Press publishes book on the essay

BY DI STAFF | MARCH 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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The founding director of the University of Iowa's Nonfiction Writing Program, Carl Klaus, searched for critical and scholarly commentary on the essay when he taught graduate courses on the subject in the 1980s.

He found little information.

"Essayists were frequently commenting on poetry, fiction, and drama, and so it came to seem as a subsidiary form, because it was used to comment on other forms of literature rather than anyone commenting on it," said Professor Emeritus Klaus.

So, since the 1980s, he has compiled pieces by essayists giving their take on the literary medium.

On Friday, the UI Press will publish Essayists on the Essay, Montaigne to Our Time, by Carl H. Klaus and Ned Stuckey-French.

"It was thought that the essay virtually speaks for itself and therefore is not imaginative or creative," Klaus said. "But if one looks at the pieces in this volume by essayists themselves, one discovers that it is more imaginative and creative than one might think."

The book provides a collection of around 50 essays analyzed by essayists from around the globe, who give their perspective about the works.

"It is most assuredly intended for anyone who is interested in the essay, whether in classes or not," Klaus said.

— by Hannah Kramer

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