How To Read Montaigne

How To Read Montaigne

by Terence Cave

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781783781225
Publisher: Granta Books
Publication date: 07/03/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 112
Sales rank: 712,503
File size: 977 KB

About the Author

Terence Cave is Emeritus Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford, Emeritus Research Fellow of St John's College, Oxford, and a Fellow of the British Academy. He is the author of The Cornucopian Text: Problems of Writing in the French Renaissance and other studies in early modern French culture.

Read an Excerpt

‘It is the only book of its kind in the world, wild and extravagant

in conception’ (II.8): this is how on one occasion

Michel de Montaigne describes the extraordinary miscellany

of writings which he first published in 1580 and which he

subsequently elaborated and extended until his death in 1592.

The Essais, as he called it, is a highly original outgrowth of

the humanist, Latin-based culture of late Renaissance France.

Michel de Montaigne’s father engaged tutors to speak Latin to

him from his earliest childhood, so that he was virtually bilingual

in French and Latin. His family had made its money in

trade and its aristocratic title was only recently acquired; he

himself had legal training and occupied prominent positions in

the local judiciary and administration. Some three years after

his father died in 1568, he gave up these public duties, at least

for a while, in order to devote himself to his domestic responsibilities.

This ‘retirement’ also had another purpose, however:

it gave him leisure to read, reflect and write, and within a

remarkably short time he was beginning to compose fragments

of what would become the Essais, the only original

composition that he published during his lifetime.

Table of Contents

Series Editor’s Foreword vi

Acknowledgements viii

A Note on the Text ix

Introduction 1

1 Documenting the Mind 7

2 Essaying 18

3 Philosophies 31

4 Belief 46

5 Thinking with a Conscience 58

6 Travel 72

7 Documenting the Self 83

8 Conversation 96

9 Writing for the Future 106

Notes 117

Chronology 124

Suggestions for Further Reading 127

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