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Literature Glossary

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Over 200 literary terms, Shmooped to perfection.

Treatise

Definition:

Do you like voicing your opinion?
Do people often tell you you're long-winded?
Do you consider yourself organized?
Do you know a lot about any particular topic?

If you answered yes, yes, yes, and obviously, you're prime for writing a treatise. A treatise is just a long, formal (i.e., organized) discussion of any given topic. Authors of treatises really dig deep and focus on the principles of what they're discussing.

Examples?

Adam Smith's The Wealth of NationsJohn Locke's Two Treatises of Government
Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species

P.S. Treatises tend to be longer than an essay, but shorter than a… giraffe. What—you don't believe us? We dare you to measure a treatise against a giraffe.

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