Whalley's prose style is resonant and profound. Four of his essays are reproduced here. Each one is selected from a different decade, beginning with the 1940s and ending with the 1970s, to give a sense of the changes in his style and some indication of the ideas and fields his thought encompassed.
1. "The Mariner and the Albatross" is one of Whalley's earliest published essays and his first on Coleridge. It was printed in University of Toronto Quarterly in 1947 and reappeared in other volumes focused on Coleridge and his famous poem.
2. The "Introduction" to Poetic Process (1953) provides an overview of Whalley's first book on criticism and aesthetics, which developed out of his MA thesis entitled "A Critique of Criticism: Prolegomena to the Study of Poetic Process" completed at Bishop's University in 1948. The wide range of literary and philosophical interests that inform the inquiry Whalley undertakes in Poetic Process are signaled in the introduction, which was the last part of the book he wrote before it was published.
3. "Literary Computing" provides some insight into the kinds of questions Whalley contemplated regarding the relationship between computers and literary studies. The ideas in the essay anticipate some of the problems that the discipline of Digital Humanities grapples with today. The paper was first delivered at the SHARE computer and technology conference in San Fransisco in 1967 and printed later that year in Quarterly Bulletin of the Computer Society of Canada.
4. The essay "Picking Up the Thread" is an excellent example of Whalley's thought about language and literacy. This essay was published in a volume entitled In the Name of Language (1975) edited by Joseph Gold. Originally, George Whalley read this essay at the ACE/ACUTE Conference at Glendon College, Toronto on May 15, 1973. The essay is reprinted in Studies in Literature and the Humanities: Innocence of Intent (1985) edited by Brian Crick and John Ferns.