Let's talk about essays. What are your favourites? Why? Post download links for extra points.
Also, what are some good introductory (or, understandable by a novice) essays on literature? C'mon.
Obligatory DFW post (and some other stuff I like):
E unibus pluram (or something like that)
Joseph Frank's Dostoevsky
That one about American Usage whose title I don't remember
Big Red Son
First three are pretty entry level and about literature or linguistics. Last one I found hilarious. I think all of them are free online.
Also, check out Barthes' Death of the Author and Cleanth Brooks' Irony as a principle of structure (most New Criticism is pretty straightforward). I don't know about translations, but Borges' essays are GOAT, at least in Spanish (particularly that one on why he knows Joyce's Ulysses despite not having read it completely, the one about Coleridge's dream and the New Refutation of Time).
Northrop Frye's Anatomy of Criticism is a nice intro to get you interested in lit crit. Even just the very first essay.
Strauss writes mostly in great digestible essays.
Anyone who hasn't read Emerson's Essays is dead on the inside.