It is a literary composition written in an argumentative fashion that is meant to address a problem or topic. Prior to the term's inception, the notion of genre in the study of media emerged in The Poetics, with Aristotle's discussion of the mode or manner of imitation in poetry. In the broadest sense, the term "essay" can refer to just about any short piece of nonfiction  -- an editorial, feature story, critical study, even an excerpt from a book. An essay is a short piece of writing on a particular subject usually written in prose. Definition Essay – Genre "Genre," in the most generic definition, takes the meaning "kind; sort; style" (OED). However, literary definitions of a genre are usually a bit fussier. However, there are a lot of speculative essays as well. Prior to the term's inception, the notion of genre in the study of media emerged in The Poetics, with Aristotle's discussion of the mode or manner of imitation in poetry. Definition Essay – Genre "Genre," in the most generic definition, takes the meaning "kind; sort; style" (OED). Most of the essays are either analytic or interpretive.