Essay Library

There are currently 100 essays in the Library – please come in and browse.

Use the ‘additional suggestions’ box to tell us if your favourite essay or author is missing, or comment boxes on each essay’s page to discuss the selection, including where you feel we should have selected another essay by the same author. We will expand the Essay Library in future, using suggestions and comments received. Example intro length, with link to more if needed.

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Of Friendship (Essay XXVII, 1625 edition)

by Francis Bacon

1625

Beginning with friendship’s antithesis, the hermit, Bacon warns that a life amid a crowd of acquaintance can be just as empty of true friendship. He exults in the comfor...

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We Refugees (collected in Hannah Arendt: The Jew as Pariah)

by Hannah Arendt

1943

A diatribe carved out of such dry irony that the reader feels its case almost viscerally. After discussing the stigmatisation of the term ‘refugee’, Arendt then exam...

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The Spectator No.50 [on the visit of the Iroquois]

by Joseph Addison

1711

Based on an idea ‘stolen’ from conversation with Jonathan Swift and prefiguring Swift’s later satire – a kind of inverted Gulliver’s Travels. The previous April, four...

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The Spectator No. 538 [on gastronomic antipathies]

by Joseph Addison

1712

Demonstrating the English periodical essay’s origins in clubbable conversation, and recurring concern with ‘good taste’, Addison describes friends discussing their food avers...

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