The Art of The Essayist has been described as the ‘Spectator of life, a multitude of confused associations, whims, and so on’. He must be spontaneous and have a wide mind. The writer is a ‘Spectator of life, a multiplicity of associations and loyalties’.
Essayist is a ‘Spectator of life’
An Essayist is a writer who focuses on life and its facets. They write about topics that range from love to marriage and manners to theatre. They aim to engage the reader and create debate. Steele’s essays are a good example of essays that are centered on life and its facets.
A writer’s goal is to make the reader realize that they too have a part to play and an interest in life. Life is full of outlets and pulsating channels and not just for politicians and millionaires.
He is a ‘Multitude of confused associations, loyalties, whims, and so on’
In ‘The Essayist is a Multitude of Confused Associations, Loyalties, Whims, and So On’, John Berger says that the essayist is a ‘Multitude of confusing associations, loyalties, whims and so on.’ Hazlitt’s cynicism is evident, but there are also moments of gentle criticism. He cites Thomas Campbell as a prime example of wrong critical judgment.
To be a good essayist, a writer must be curious about human difference and differing theories. Moreover, he must know that most of human convictions do not come from reason. They come from mass associations, traditions, phrases, and examples. This means that an essayist should be more concerned with the inconsistency of human thought than with the content of their own beliefs.
He must have a broad mind
To be a successful essayist, you must have a broad mind. Your mind needs to be able to see and understand life from the reader’s point of view. Your essay must not be self-centered, nor do you want to show off your own life.
A broad mind is one that is tolerant and unattached to one or two particular points of view. You must be interested in human differences and different theories, and you must realize that most people do not come to their convictions through reason alone. Their beliefs are the result of a mass of associations, traditions, phrases, and examples. As an essayist, you must care about the inconsistencies of humanity, and study how people actually think and act.
He must be a ‘Self-liberated man’
The Art of the Essayist is the art of interpreting and criticizing life. The essayist does not see life as a historian, philosopher, novelist, or poet does. He does not seek to discover some theory of the universe or fit various parts of it together. Instead, the essayist is concerned with life as it appears and the pleasures it brings.
To become an essayist, one must be self-liberated, or self-aware. For this, the essayist must have a natural curiosity and be fascinated by differences between human cultures, beliefs, and theories. In addition, the essayist must understand that most people’s convictions are not based on reason. They are the result of a mass of associations, traditions, phrases, and examples. This means that the essayist must study what people actually think about things.