The readings for the first two weeks of our course are six from among the writers who founded and perfected the essay in the English language. These classic short prose pieces show how absolute masters of the language apply their craft, and provide us with models of what can be done with skill, practice and command. The modern essays which then follow on the reading list will be better understood in light of these classics.
When you the assigned essays for the first time, assume that they are meant to be enjoyed and appreciated, not analysed and quizzed. The study will come later, in light of what is presented in lecture.