A story is a hypothesis, a tryout of human nature under the impingement of certain given materials; so is an essay.... Nearly every essay, like every story, is an experiment, not a credo.

Or, to put it more stringently: an essay, like a story or a novel, is a fiction .... What I am repudiating.. .is the inference that... an essay is generally anything more than simply another fiction—a short story told in the form of an argument, or a history, or even (once in a very great while) an illumination. But never a tenet.
—Cynthia Ozick, in the “Forewarning” to Metaphor & Memory: Essays

Her performance of the part she had undertaken to play was certainly complete, and everything lay before him but the reason she might have for playing it.
—Henry James, in The Princess Casamassima

In a season remarkably devoid of literary events...

 

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