Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was one of the most influential figures of the French Renaissance. He studied law and retired from public life at the age of thirty-eight to devote himself to reading, reflection, and composing the . He is credited with inventing the genre of the essay.
M. A. Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is recognized as a world authority on the Renaissance and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor for his translation of Montaigne’s .