Resonant Thoughts: Robert Atwan On Essay Aesthetics 

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In his forward to The Best American Essays (2015), series editor Robert Atwan suggests some stylistic attributes of the essay form. Ideally, essays:

• foreground the writing process in the writing itself

• allow the author to reject any authoritative posture

• are an anti-systematic, anti-rhetorical method of composition

• are prose with an unfinished quality

and

• reflect the mind in process, showing thoughts appearing to be generated from the act of writing rather than from a preconceived plan.

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