The Familiar Essay Elements Of Content

Elements Of Content

(Nineteenth-Century Literary Criticism)

Alexander Smith

SOURCE: "On the Writing of Essays," in A Book of Essays, edited by Blanche Colton Williams, D. C. Heath and Company, 1931, pp. 243-61.

[Smith was a respected nineteenth-century Scottish poet and familiar essayist. In the following excerpt from an essay included in his Dreamthorpe: A Book of Essays Written in the Country (1863), he writes from a rustic retreat of the familiar essayist's subject matter and wide-ranging habit of mind.]

Giddy people may think the life I lead here staid and humdrum, but they are mistaken. It is true, I hear no concerts, save those in which the thrushes are performers in the spring mornings. I...

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