Literature

On ‘On’ in Essay Titles

The proposition that the preposition on is merely a locator in time or place seriously understates its historical use in essay and book titles in English-language Western literature. The use of on in an essay title is a writer’s assurance to a reader that the essay is, at least in part, an assay that aspires to leave the world a better place and the reader a better person, without having done anything to either. It is the promise of a writing that is on, about, or a consideration of something of substance in a work of art that leaves one…

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