Born in 1533, Montaigne studied law and spent a number of years working as a counsellor before devoting his life to reading, writing and reflection. He died in 1586. Dr M.A. Screech is regarded as the world's greatest authority on Montaigne.
The Complete Essaysby Michel de Montaigne, M. A. Screech (Translator)
Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech. In 1572 Montaigne retired to his estates in order to devote himself to leisure, reading and reflection. There he wrote his constantly expanding 'assays', inspired by the ideas he found in books contained in his library and from his own experience. He discusses subjects as diverse as war-horses and cannibals, poetry and politics, sex and religion, love and friendship, ecstasy and experience. But, above all, Montaigne studied himself as a way of drawing out his own inner nature and that of men and women in general. The Essays are among the most idiosyncratic and personal works in all literature and provide an engaging insight into a wise Renaissance mind, continuing to give pleasure and enlightenment to modern readers. With its extensive introduction and notes, M.A. Screech's edition of Montaigne is widely regarded as the most distinguished of recent times. Michel de Montaigne (1533-1586) studied law and spent a number of years working as a counsellor before devoting his life to reading, writing and reflection. If you enjoyed The Complete Essays, you might like Francois Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, also available in Penguin Classics. 'Screech's fine version ... must surely serve as the definitive English Montaigne' A.C. Grayling, Financial Times 'A superb edition' Nicholas Wollaston, Observer
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I tried to read this version of montaigne, but try as I might I couldn't get past all the little numbers that riddled the pages of this text. They continually distracted my eyes and made my reading bumpy and irregular.
The book covers a vast array of topics and is a bridge between thoughts of the Greece-Roman world and the present. Written over 400 years ago the thoughts are relevant for all times. His insight into human nature and behaviour are truly remarkable and I have rarely enjoyed any book as much as Montaigne.