Have you ever thought about writing an essay longer than 10 pages? Well, some people have taken this challenge to a whole new level, surpassing even the wildest expectations. In this article, we will take a look at some of the longest essays ever written and explore the stories behind these astonishing feats of human creativity.
The Million Character Essay: A Cultural Icon
Let’s start with the essay that many consider to hold the title of the longest essay ever written: The Million Character Essay (《六十卷章句》in Chinese), a masterpiece of literary and philosophical brilliance. This incredibly long essay was written by a Ming dynasty scholar and politician named Feng Menglong in the 17th century.
The essay comprises precisely one million characters, hence the name, and is a collection of selected ancient Chinese texts compiled over generations, with commentary and analysis by Feng Menglong. The essay covers a range of topics that were relevant at the time, such as religion, moral conduct, literature, and politics, among others. The essay is written in classical Chinese, making it challenging to understand for modern readers without proper training in the language.
The Million Character Essay is still regarded as an iconic work of Chinese literature and is widely studied in Chinese schools and universities.
The Great Law of Peace: A Foundational Document of Democracy
Another essay contender for the title of the longest essay ever written is The Great Law of Peace, a Native American oral tradition that was put in writing in the 17th century. The essay was written by the Iroquois Confederacy to explain how their government worked and how such a system could benefit the newly formed United States of America.
The essay is approximately 117 pages long, and it describes how the Iroquois Confederacy, a union of five Native American nations, lived in peace and harmony with each other for hundreds of years, using the power of reason and discussion to resolve their differences. The essay proposes a democratic system of government based on representation and consensus rather than on force and coercion.
Many historians and scholars believe that The Great Law of Peace had an enormous influence on the founding fathers of the USA and the development of democratic principles in the country.
The Human Encyclopaedia: A Unique Record of Knowledge
Another long essay worth mentioning is the Human Encyclopaedia by Swedish writer and researcher Carl W. Rössel, who spent over 20 years of his life writing a comprehensive and detailed guide to human knowledge, covering everything from science to philosophy, politics, and art.
The essay has 89 volumes and more than 30 million words, making it one of the most extensive collections of knowledge ever written by a single human being. The essay has been described as the ultimate reference book, and it is still widely used today by scholars and researchers around the world.
The Million Character Essay, written in the 17th century by Feng Menglong, is one of the most iconic works of Chinese literature, boasting precisely one million characters.
The Great Law of Peace, an essay written by the Iroquois Confederacy, is a foundational document of democracy and had a significant impact on the development of democratic principles in the USA.
The Human Encyclopaedia, written by Carl W. Rössel, is an extensive collection of knowledge spanning 89 volumes and more than 30 million words.
What is the longest essay ever written?
The answer to this question is subjective, as it depends on how we define an essay. However, some of the longest essays ever written include The Million Character Essay, The Great Law of Peace, and The Human Encyclopaedia.
Why do people write long essays?
People write long essays for various reasons. Some write them to create a comprehensive reference guide, others to capture and preserve oral traditions, and some to share their knowledge and ideas with the world.
Are long essays still relevant today?
Yes, they are. Long essays provide an opportunity to dive deep into complex topics and explore them thoroughly. They can serve as a reference guide, preserve cultural traditions and ideas, and inspire curiosity and awe.