In this overview of the essay from its classical origins to its contemporary forms, we will start with the letters of Seneca (which Montaigne, seen as the progenitor of the modern essay, credits as the inspiration for his "essais") and move across centuries to a study of the most recent writers of the genre. As we survey the evolution of the essay together, students will choose the work of one essayist (classical, contemporary, or from an era in between) to read independently. Writing will include several short assignments and a culminating project of longer length based on independent reading. Only open to students in the MFA Creative Writing Program. 3 units.