Table of Contents
Michel Montaigne (1533-1592) called his modest mementos of his mind “essays” meaning “attempts” or “trials.” The term caught on in English after Francis Bacon, the British philosopher and statesman, used it for his own collection of short pieces in 1597. (Gottlieb, p. 27) Dr. Samuel Johnson’s (1709-1784) dictionary defined an essay as a loose sally [sudden leap] of the mind; an irregular indigested piece. (ibid.) In my essays you will find some “attempts,” some “trials,” and a fair amount of “sallying forth.” In honor of Francis Bacon I lead off with his essay on the subject of “truth.”
Gottlieb, Anthony. “Montaigne’s Moment.” The New York Times Book Review. March 13, 2011.