Expanding our horizons and discovering new ways of thinking and seeing the world and the different aspects that are part of it is something that a large number of people want. They seek to enrich themselves internally or increase their knowledge through different methods, one of which is the use of literature.

However, centuries and centuries of history have made possible the existence of a large catalogue of documents and works on different subjects, so in order to facilitate the search for interesting material we present a small selection of recommended essays .

What is a literary essay?

An essay is all written in prose in which the author(s) delve into a given topic . This literary genre observes and analyzes from a fundamental point of view the subject to be treated, trying to introduce and make the reader think about the aspect on which the work is based.

For this reason, they are usually acquired by people interested in increasing their knowledge of various subjects, although sometimes the content tends to focus more on the author’s subjective beliefs than on proven facts.

14 recommended trials

Below we present a series of recommended essays to make us think about various elements and situations in our lives.

1. The Art of War (Sun Tzu)

A well-known Chinese work dating from antiquity, The Art of War is an essay based on the use of strategy during moments of conflict . Although by its name it seems to be fully dedicated to military strategy, this essay reflects a philosophy applicable to various vital aspects such as social and labour relations or even the individual’s own behaviour.

  • If you want to know more about this essay, click here.

2. Treatise on Tolerance (Voltaire)

Written by Voltaire in 1762 after the French edict allowing freedom of worship was revoked, in this work François-Marie Arouet (Voltaire’s real name) talks about the need to tolerate the beliefs and thoughts of others , stating that no one should die for his ideas and criticizing fanaticism and violence.

  • In case you are interested in the book, you will find more information about it in this link.

3. History of Hell (Georges Minois)

In this essay the author reviews the conception of hell through the ages , from antiquity to modernity and with some emphasis on the Judaeo-Christian version. This work allows us to see how culture has evolved, analysing the way in which hell was used as a deterrent to committing actions contrary to tradition and the law. It also shows how the traditional idea of this concept has faded over time and how some of its elements have been identified in other facets of modern life.

  • Are you interested in this essay?You can find more information at this link.

4. Hunger (Martín Caparrós)

This essay tells us about a subject that most of us miss in our daily lives, since we tend to have enough resources not to be devastated by it. It is hunger, which causes the death by starvation of a large number of people throughout the world. Throughout the work the author reflects the stories of different populations afflicted by it, the people who try to fight against it and the mechanisms that cause this problem to continue being so today.

  • In case you want to know more about this essay, you can find more information about the book here.

5. Essays on Music, Theatre and Literature (Thomas Mann)

This is a collection of essays in which the author, Thomas Mann, makes a review and analysis of the development of European culture . Focusing on aspects such as literature (among which the essay stands out Journey by Sea with Don Quixote ), theatre and music, the author also refers to other themes such as capturing reality, spirituality and the artist’s relationship with the world around him.

  • If you are interested, you can get it by clicking here.

6. Three essays on sexual theory (Sigmund Freud)

The father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud is one of the best known figures in the history of psychology . Although his theories have been partially superseded by different authors and theoretical currents, the observation and reading of his theories regarding the human psyche and its configuration continues to be of great interest. In this work the author offers us his vision of sexuality and its development throughout life.

  • To read more about this work, click here.
  • You may be interested in: “The 5 Stages of Psychosexual Development of Sigmund Freud”

7. In Defense of the Mistake (Kathryn Schulz)

We live in a society that requires us to be competitive and efficient in everything we do. We have to look for perception, being harshly criticized the mistakes made. However, making mistakes is most of the time an opportunity to improve and to open up to new ways of acting and seeing the world. In this essay, the author reflects different mistakes made by some of the most relevant and recognized personalities throughout history.

  • If you are interested, click here to read more about this work.

8. The Soul of Puppets (John Gray)

This essay tells us about one of the rights and values most defended and valued by human beings throughout history: freedom. Throughout this work John Gray reflects that despite the fact that we consider ourselves to be liberated, we human beings continue to be constrained by different elements that force us to act in a certain way. As if we were puppets, we continue to be controlled by our conscience, ideas, beliefs and personal history, without being able in many cases to step outside of certain limits, whether imposed by others or by ourselves.

  • To see more information about the book, use this link.

9. The genealogy of morality (Friederich Niezche)

This essay by the well-known philosopher deals with themes such as culture, good and evil, science and asceticism, guilt or grief, establishing a fierce criticism of the concept of morality and of the values that govern society.

  • To learn more about the book click here.

10. Five moral writings (Umberto Eco)

This work by Umberto Eco studies topics such as war, immigration or the media from the perspective of their influence on morality, based on the analysis of recent history.

  • If you are interested in this essay, click on this link.

11. The inner journey. Essays on Jungian Psychology (Barbara Hannah)

The author of this book takes a look at the work of the well-known author of deep psychology, C.G. Jung. Aspects such as archetypes and complexes or personality will be explored throughout the present work with a language easily understood by the reader.

12. Writing: An Introduction to Alphabetic Culture (Jesús Tusón)

Writing is one of the skills and tools that are considered essential today and that have allowed the transmission of values, beliefs and knowledge through the passage of history. It has allowed human beings to start from previous knowledge in order to advance and develop. Tusón reflects in this essay the process and the existing theories about the beginning, development and expansion of writing as a method of human communication.

Click on this link to learn more about this work.

13. The Musical Brain (Daniel J. Levitin)

Music has been part of mankind since time immemorial. Used as a mechanism of communication and expression of emotions, feelings and intentions, it is an artistic expression that even today accompanies us and is part of our lives from childhood to death. In this essay the author tries to explain the role of music throughout history and its importance for individuals and groups that have passed through the world.

  • On this page you will find more information about the book.

14. Eroticism (George Bataille)

This essay tells us about the role of eroticism in different aspects of life and the link between it and aspects such as love and passion, creativity or even aspects such as its relationship with death and aggression, also making reference to characters such as the Marquis de Sade or aspects such as incest.

  • If you are interested in the book, click here.