Simon Schama on Why He Likes Essays

Montaigne. (Courtesy Wikipedia)

“The best essay writing since Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), who invented the genre, is where this reanimation of experience is shaped by the purposeful urgencies of thought. It is not the thoughtless recycling of experience for its own sake, the fetishising of impulse, which these days is what mostly passes as ‘blog’; a word well suited to its swampy suck of self-indulgence.” —Simon Schama, on why he likes essays, as an introduction to a new prize that the FT has created for essays.