Periodical Essay Notes

A "periodical" is any publication that comes out regularly or occasionally (i.e. The are also know as "serials." A "magazine" is a periodical with a popular focus, i.e. TV Guide, Sports Illustrated, The Journal of Anthropological Research, The World Almanac, and the phone book are all periodicals.

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It does not treat of minerals or fossils, of the virtues of plants, or the influence of planets; it does not meddle with forms of belief, or systems of philosophy, nor launch into the world of spiritual existences; but it makes familiar with the world of men and women, records their actions, assigns their motives, exhibits their whims, characterises their pursuits in all their singular and endless variety, ridicules their absurdities, exposes their inconsistencies, ‘holds the mirror up to nature, and shews the very age and body of the time its form and pressure;’ takes minutes of our dress, air, looks, words, thoughts, and actions; shews us what we are, and what we are not; plays the whole game of human life over before us, and by making us enlightened Spectators of its many-coloured scenes, enables us (if possible) to become tolerably reasonable agents in the one in which we have to perform a part.

‘The act and practice part of life is thus made the mistress of our theorique.’ It is the best and most natural course of study.

In treating of men and manners, he spoke of them as he found them, not according to preconceived notions and abstract dogmas; and he began by teaching us what he himself was.

In criticizing books he did not compare them with ‘rules and systems, but told us what he saw to like or dislike in them.

There is an inexpressible frankness and sincerity, as well as power, in what he writes.

There is no attempt at imposition or concealment, no juggling tricks or solemn mouthing, no labored attempts at proving himself always in the right, and everybody else in the wrong; he says what is uppermost, lays open what floats at the top or the bottom of his mind, and deserves Pope’s character of him, where he professes to He does not converse with us like a pedagogue with his pupil, whom he wishes to make as great a blockhead as himself, but like a philosopher and friend who has passed through life with thought and observation, and is willing to enable others to pass through it with pleasure and profit.It's important to understand the differences between journals and magazines.Magazines are not necessarily bad or low quality (nor are journals necessarily high quality) -- they simply aren't designed to support most upper-level academic research.He was, in the truest sense, a man of original mind, that is, he had the power of looking at things for himself, or as they really were, instead of blindly trusting to, and fondly repeating what others told him that they were.He got rid of the go-cart of prejudice and affectation, with the learned lumber that follows at their heels, because he could do without them.They contain original research, conclusions based on data, footnotes or endnotes, and often an abstract or bibliography.The Journal of Physical Chemistry, The Chaucer Review, The Milbank Quarterly, and Labor History are examples of journals.Nearly all the thinking of the two last centuries of that kind which the French denominate , is to be found in Montaigne’s Essays: there is the germ, at least, and generally much more.He sowed the seed and cleared away the rubbish, even where others have reaped the fruit, or cultivated and decorated the soil to a greater degree of nicety and perfection.It makes up its general accounts from details, its few theories from many facts.It does not try to prove all black or all white as it wishes, but lays on the intermediate colors, (and most of them not unpleasing ones,) as it finds them blended with ‘the web of our life, which is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.’ It inquires what human life is and has been, to shew what it ought to be.


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