The Complete Works: Essays, Travel Journal, Letters

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A.A. Knopf, 2003 - Literary Collections - 1336 pages

 

Humanist, skeptic, acute observer of himself and others, Michel de Montaigne (1533--92) was the first to use the term "essay" to refer to the form he pioneered, and he has remained one of its most famous practitioners. He reflected on the great themes of existence in his wise and engaging writings, his subjects ranging from proper conversation and good reading, to the raising of children and the endurance of pain, from solitude, destiny, time, and custom, to truth, consciousness, and death. Having stood the test of time, his essays continue to influence writers nearly five hundred years later.

 

Also included in this complete edition of his works are Montaigne's letters and his travel journal, fascinating records of the experiences and contemplations that would shape and infuse his essays. Montaigne speaks to us always in a personal voice in which his virtues of tolerance, moderation, and understanding are dazzlingly manifest.

 

Donald M. Frame's masterful translation is widely acknowledged to be the classic English version.

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Contents

Introduction
xv
Translators Vote
xxvii
LETTERS
xxviii
Copyright

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About the author (2003)

Michel de Montaigne was born in Chateau de Montaigne, near Bordeaux, France, on February 28, 1533. He received his early education at the College de Guyenne in Bordeaux and studied law at Bordeaux and Toulouse, becoming a counselor of the Court des Aides of Perigueaux, the Bordeaux Parliament and, in 1561, at the court of Charles IX. In 1565, Montaigne married Francoise de la Chassaigne. They raised one daughter, with four other children dying in infancy. He lived the life as a country gentleman and traveled extensively through Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Montaigne was a moderate Roman Catholic and an advocate of toleration, acting as an intermediary between Henry of Navarre and the court party. As a result, in 1588, he was arrested by members of the Protestant League and thrown into the Bastille for several hours. His work Essais established the essay as a new literary form and influenced both French and English writers; it was quoted by William Shakespeare and imitated by Francis Bacon. Michel de Montaigne died on September 13, 1592 at his chateau in France.

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