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Even though essay films have been a key practice since the 1950s, there is scant analysis about this form in English. Part of this is likely due to the inherent difficulty of definition. The films, which foreground subjectivity and adopt an explicit, personal approach to their subject matter, can look and feel very different from one another. Their coherence as a group, however, comes into focus when contextualized as part of the larger tradition from which they draw. By looking to the literary and philosophical lineage of the essay form, Corrigan brings new clarity to a practice that, arguably, is one of the most common and successful in contemporary film culture. The Essay Film situates its investigation in the literary tradition of essayists such as Montaigne, Barthes, and Huxley before moving to an expansive discussion of filmmakers such as Derek Jarman, Allan Clark, Werner Herzog, Harun Farocki, Chantal Akerman, Chris Marker, Errol Morris, Nanni Moretti, Agnes Varda, Ross McElwee, Abbas Kiarostami, Raoul Ruiz, Lynne Sachs, and Trinh T. Minh-ha.