Above all to wander


We’re looking for essays – like this and this and these – to publish in gorse, both online and in print. Here are some essays elsewhere that we like:

  • The Skin of Anxiety, Kevin Barry (Dublin Review)
  • Blind Spot, Teju Cole (Granta)
  • The Art of Conjecturing, Julianne Werlin (New Inquiry)
  • Construction of Meaning: Influences on Interpretation of Beck Hansen’s Song Reader, Vera Brenner (Big, Red & Shiny)
  • Short Story & Novel, Elif Batuman (n+1)
  • The Death of the Translator, George Szirtes (The White Review)
  • Amerikas, Adam Thirlwell (The Believer)
  • The Minotaur & the Maze, a Cultural History of Night, Darran Anderson (3:AM Magazine)
  • Honest Work, an Experimental Review of an Experimental Translation, Matthew Jakubowski (3:AM Magazine)
  • Melancholy & Its Correctives: Flaubert, Chekov, Tolstoy, Adrian West (3:AM Magazine)
  • Nude in Your Hot Tub: A Literary Manifesto After the a End of Literature & Manifestos, Lars Iyer (The White Review)
  • Men Explain Things to Me: Facts Didn’t Get in Their Way, Rebecca Solnit (TomDispatch)
  • Hardy Animal [PDF], M.J. Hyland (Granta)

  • An essay, according to Brian Dillon, “makes a ruin out of its own conflicting desires for aesthetics and adventure.”

    What does the essay want? It wants above all to wander. Not for nothing are the most celebrated instances of the film-essay – the works, for example, of Dziga Vertov, Chris Marker, Patrick Keiller – all records of journeys. But the essay’s vagrancy is not only a matter of its departing from the beaten track of method; nor of something clumsily named ‘interdisciplinarity’, or mere ‘hybridity’ of genre. The point is: the essay, the essayistic, a certain essayism may turn up anywhere – its effect is briefly (usually briefly) to cast into relief the relations between thought, truth, authority and the artifice or style that condition them. Here is the poet Michael Hamburger in ‘An Essay on the Essay’ (1965), describing the form as adventure: ‘The spirit of essay-writing walks on irresistibly, even over the corpse of the essay, and is glimpsed, now here, now there, in novels, stories, poems or articles, from time to time in the very parkland of philosophy, formidably walled and strictly guarded though it may seem, the parkland from which it escaped centuries ago to wander about in the wild meadow.’ Even over the corpse of the essay – here is a form that survives its own consignment to the museum of antique literary forms, one that outlives all local arguments about its relevance. Or maybe we should read that phrase in a stronger sense: here is a form that murders itself at the very moment it is made. (Plutarch: ‘An essay that becomes a lyric is an essay that has killed itself.’)

    Write us an essay.

    [Image: Wellcome Library, London]