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10 thoughts on “Essais

  1. Geoff Geoff says:

    Okay I've read enough of this now in a wide variety of settings at miscellaneous times within sundry atmospheres such as late nights in bed under the lamp's pale glow bright mornings early at certain tables or on metros over coffees and over beers or over blended rye or such like things in times of happiness and times of depression in times of relative wealth and in times of poverty in the stark wet heat of summer and the stark dry freeze of winter under the rapture of autumn foliage about to be released from limbs and above the emerging green and yellow shoots and sprigs of spring to ualify it as read so over these long years sporadically spent with Montaigne let's say I've come to think of this collection as damn near a complete picture of a human mind striving to come to terms with the phenomenal world by engaging the sensorium as we're likely to get These pages contain a Universe by which I mean a mind building things with language and you dear reader are invited to navigate Raise the masts Aim the bowsprit directly into the heart of the day

  2. Lizzy Lizzy says:

    I turn my gaze inward I fix it there and keep it busy Everyone looks in front of him; as for me; I look inside myself; I have no business but with myself I take stock of myself I taste myself I roll about in myself Alas Montaigne inspires me The Complete Essays covers all kind of subjects and it is an almost eternal work in progress for me It honestly deals with humanity itself Montaigne is entertaining compelling and inclined to digression I read Montaigne at indiscriminate times and places and under disparate moods If I am depressed I look for something in it that might help me get back on my feet and keep going; if I am happy I search for companionship And I am often awed by him how easy he seems To learn that one has said or done a foolish thing that is nothing; one must learn that one is nothing but a fool a much comprehensive and important lesson I’ve been reading the Essays for some time now and probably will keep working through its page whenever I feel like contemplating about life It is for me an ever ending source of inspiration and of pleasure There are periods it is true that I forget about it altogether; but eventually I will go back and scan through its chapters looking for themes that grant me some moments of delight At times I read Montaigne just for thirty minutes or one hour but never for too long for I know I will get back to it eventually Whether sipping my coffee at a café in bed just before I go to sleep or sharing passages with friends when they happen to visit me I love skipping through its pages until I find what I was expectingAh he also surprises me I enjoyed his thoughts about women's rank in society a puzzling mix of traditionalism and advanced thinking considering he lived in the 16th century Women are not altogether in the wrong when they refuse the rules of life prescribed to the World for so much as only men have established them without their consent Read any chapter randomly if you wish or read it all if you have time and breath I am sure you will love it

  3. Roy Lotz Roy Lotz says:

    e'ssay 2 A loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular and orderly composition—From Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English LanguageNow I finally have an answer to the famous “desert island book” uestion This book It would have to be Not that Montaigne’s Essays is necessarily the greatest book I’ve ever read—it’s not But here Montaigne managed to do something that has eluded the greatest of our modern science to preserve a complete likeness of a person Montaigne lives and breathes in these pages just as much as he would if he'd been cryogentically frozen and brought back to life before your eyes Working your way through this book is a little like starting a relationship At first it’s new and exciting But eventually the exhilaration wears off You begin looking for other books missing the thrill of first love But what Montaigne lacks in bells and whistles he than compensates for with his constant companionship You learn about the intimacies of his eating habits and bowel movements his philosophy of sex as well as science his opinion on doctors and horsemanship He lets it all hang out And after a long and stressful day you know Montaigne will be waiting on your bedside table to tell you a funny anecdote to have easygoing conversation or to just pass the time To uote Francis Bacon’s Essays “Some books are to be tasted others to be swallowed and some few to be chewed and digested” Montaigne’s essays are to be sipped This book took me a grand total of six months to read I would dip into it right before bed—just a few pages Sometimes I tried to spend time on the essays but I soon gave it up Montaigne’s mind drifts from topic to topic like a sleepwalker He has no attention span for longwinded arguments or extended exposition It’s not uite stream of consciousness but almost As a result whenever I tried to spend an hour on his writing I got bored Plus burning your way through this book would ruin the experience of it Another reviewer called Montaigne’s Essays the “introvert's Bible” This is a very perceptive comment For me there was something uasi religious in the ritual of reading a few pages of this book right before bed—night after night after night For everything Montaigne lacks in intelligence patience diligence and humility he makes up for with his exuisite sanity I can find no other word to describe it Dipping into his writing is like dipping a bucket into a deep well of pure blissful sanity It almost seems like a contradiction to call someone “profoundly down to earth” but that’s just it Montaigne makes the pursuit of living a reasonable life into high art Indeed I find something in Montaigne’s uest for self knowledge strangely akin to religious thinking In Plato’s system self knowledge leads to knowledge of the abstract realm of ideals; and in the Upanishads self knowledge leads to the conception of the totality of the cosmos For Montaigne self knowledge is the key to knowledge of the human condition In his patient cataloging of his feelings and opinions Montaigne shows that there is hardly anything like an unchanging ‘self’ at the center of our being but we are rather an ever changing flux of emotions thoughts memories anxieties hopes and sensations Montaigne is a Skeptic one moment an Epicurean another a Stoic still another and finally a Christian And isn’t this how it always is? You may take pride in a definition of yourself—a communist a musician a vegan—but no simple label ever comes close to pinning down the chaotic stream that is human life We hold certain principles near and dear one moment and five minutes later these principles are forgotten with the smell of lunch The most dangerous people it seems are those that do try to totalize themselves under one heading or one creed How do you reason with a person like that? I’ve read too much Montaigne—now I’m rambling To return to this book I’m both sorry that I’ve finished it and excited that it’s done Now I can move on to another bedside book But if I ever feel myself drifting towards radicalism extremism or if I start to think abstract arguments are important than the real stuff of human life I will return to my old friend Montaigne This is a book that could last you a lifetime

  4. Alan Alan says:

    Inventer and perfecter of the trial composition essayer None better after four centuries though we have improved lying through essays We call it news global warming? What global warming NSA Spying? What spying all legal Montaigne can be read a page or two daily like Gilbert White's Natural History of Selbourne Thoreau's Journals Emily Dickinsons' poems or the Bible Two centuries before Natural History of Selbourne Montaigne doubts Natural Laws says no one agrees on the four said to exist nor in specific national laws which the mere crossing of a river turns into a crimeII26 No the only laws are divine though there too some in France made legal what was previously a capital offense the footnote says M was probably thinking of the Protestant faith Montaigne's own mother's family was Protestant converting from Judaism Antoinette Louppe; his father Pierre Eyuem a Catholic businessman who became mayor of Bordeaux and bought the Montaigne estate xx Of the elephants it may be said they share with us a kind of religion; for they may be seen after several ablutions and purifications to raise thier trunks as we do our arms of their own accord to stand with their eyes fixed in the direction of the rising sun in a long meditation and contemplationII460 Montaigne's favorite Latin poem was Vergil's Georgics though he uotes Horace a lot; he prefers Terence to Plautus from whom Shakespeare gleaned whole plays I prefer Plautus largely for his colloial Latin and his wit Montaigne also undervalues Ovid Shakespeare's other great source of stories and of wit Donne literally steals one of Ovid's As or Ars Amatoria see my review Michel himself warns of the Danger of too much reading but that is pious reading withdrawing from the world even not eating and thereby endangering one's health Lively witty reading does not endanger; For my part I love such books as are either easy and entertaining and that tickle my fancy or give me comfort I 244 On the Custom of Wearing Clothes How many men especially in Turkey go naked as a matter of religion One man in sable asked a cheerful beggar in the street how he could bear the cold And you sir you have your face uncovered; now I am all faceI225 Renaissance sumptuary laws prevented the middle class from wearing aristocrat's clothes which in England they could only wear on stage The laws prevented wearing of velvet and gold braid also silks But in the mourning for Henry II so many wore black silk that it positively went out of fashion Montaigne salutes Zaleucus of the Locrians ruling that A woman of free condition may not be followed by than one maid unless she be drunkThat excepting keepers of brothels no man shall wear a ring of gold upon his fingerI264 Read in the Oxford Standard Authors 1927 hardback

  5. Julia Julia says:

    I kind of half jokingly refer to this book as the introverts bible Certainly a must read especially for those of us who live a contemplative life The Essays are moving and funny edifying and at times very sad Montaigne's observations range from the very specific and particular to the huge and universal I don't always agree with what he says but I am engaged nonetheless I feel as I read this book that I'm always in conversation with himI know I will be reading and re reading The Essays throughout the course of my whole life I know that my understanding for them will deepen and change Montaigne himself continued to edit the essays until his death This sort of journey is much of what the book is about all culminating in the most moving essay of them all On ExperienceI recommend this edition especially for its fantastic translator It is wholly accessible while at the same time maintaining the humor and beauty of Montaigne's words

  6. Szplug Szplug says:

    Montaigne is one of my all time favorite dudes truly a bridge between eras and endowed with enough sagacity and wisdom to guide a nation Wonderful and warm humanity and sparklingly sere humor but he can chuck 'em too a handful of uiet paragraphs from his essays on Liars and Cowards scorches the flesh from deceitful bones and craven limbsThanks to a screw up by the company I ordered Screech's translation from I received two copies one for my desk at the office one for the table beside my bed at home At work or at rest Montaigne leads you trueBTW if the entire collection of essays seems too daunting a challenge or too heavy to comfortably hold there's an abridgement with an outstandingly smooth and literary translation by J M Cohen perhaps elegant than Screech's suave but with all the edges sanded and hence less true to le Gros Guyennoise

  7. Florencia Florencia says:

    A Montaigne essay a day keeps the doctor awayBOOK I 1 We reach the same end by discrepant means ★★★★2 On sadness ★★★★The force of extreme sadness inevitably stuns the whole of our soul impeding her freedom of action Chi puo dir com'egli arde e in picciol fuoco –He who can describe how his heart is ablaze is burning on a small pyre Petrarch Sonnet 1373 Our emotions get carried away beyond us4 How the soul discharges its emotions against false objects when lacking real ones5 Whether the governor of a besieged fortress should go out and parley6 The hour of parleying is dangerous7 That our deeds are judged by the intention8 On idleness ★★★★★When the soul is without a definite aim she gets lost; for as they say if you are everywhere you are nowhere Variam semper dant otia mentisIdleness always produces fickle changes of mindLucan Pharsalia IV 7049 On liars ★★★★★10 On a ready or hesitant delivery ★★★★We can see that in the case of the gift of speaking well some have such a prompt facility and as we say such ease in ‘getting it out’ that they are always ready anywhere others hesitant never speak without thinking and working it all out beforehand11 On prognostications12 On constancy13 Ceremonial at the meeting of kings14 That the taste of good and evil things depends in large part on the opinion we have of them15 One is punished for stubbornly defending a fort without a good reason16 On punishing cowardice17 The doings of certain ambassadors18 On fear19 That we should not be deemed happy till after our death20 To philosophize is to learn how to die21 On the power of the imagination22 One man’s profit is another man’s loss23 On habit and on never easily changing a traditional law24 Same design differing outcomes25 On schoolmasters’ learning26 On educating children27 That it is madness to judge the true and the false from our own capacities28 On affectionate relationships29 Nine and twenty sonnets of Estienne de La Boëtie30 On moderation31 On the Cannibals32 Judgements on God’s ordinances must be embarked upon with prudence33 On fleeing from pleasures at the cost of one’s life34 Fortune is often found in Reason’s train35 Something lacking in our civil administrations36 On the custom of wearing clothing37 On Cato the Younger38 How we weep and laugh at the same thing39 On solitude ★★★★That is to say let the rest be ours but not so glued and joined to us that it cannot be pulled off without tearing away a piece of ourselves skin and all Review here40 Reflections upon Cicero41 On not sharing one’s fame42 On the ineuality there is between us43 On sumptuary laws44 On sleep ★★★Reason directs that we should always go the same way but not always at the same pace45 On the Battle of Dreux46 On names47 On the uncertainty of our judgement48 On war horses49 On ancient customs50 On Democritus and Heraclitus51 On the vanity of words52 On the frugality of the Ancients53 On one of Caesar’s sayings54 On vain cunning devices55 On smells56 On prayer57 On the length of lifeBOOK II1 On the inconstancy of our actions2 On drunkenness3 A custom of the Isle of Cea4 ‘Work can wait till tomorrow’5 On conscience6 On practice7 On rewards for honour8 On the affection of fathers for their children9 On the armour of the Parthians10 On books11 On cruelty12 An apology for Raymond Sebond13 On judging someone else’s death14 How our mind tangles itself up15 That difficulty increases desire16 On glory17 On presumption18 On giving the lie19 On freedom of conscience20 We can savour nothing pure21 Against indolence22 On riding ‘in post’23 On bad means to a good end24 On the greatness of Rome25 On not pretending to be ill26 On thumbs27 On cowardice the mother of cruelty28 There is a season for everything29 On virtue30 On a monster child31 On anger32 In defence of Seneca and Plutarch33 The tale of Spurina34 Observations on Julius Caesar’s methods of waging war35 On three good wives36 On the most excellent of men37 On the resemblance of children to their fathersBOOK III1 On the useful and the honourable2 On repenting3 On three kinds of social intercourse4 On diversion5 On some lines of Virgil6 On coaches7 On high rank as a disadvantage8 On the art of conversation9 On vanity10 On restraining your will11 On the lame12 On physiognomy13 On experience

  8. David Sarkies David Sarkies says:

    A French aristocrat shares his personal opinions6 January 2013 Normally I would wait until I have finished a book to write a commentary however this book is a lot different in that is contains a large collection of essays on a multiple of subjects Secondly I have not been reading this book continually but rather picking it up reading a few essays and then putting it down again I originally read a selection of these essays but when I finished it I decided to get my hands on a complete version preferably hardcover and it has been sitting next to my bed for the last two years and I am only up to the second book of essays as of this writing – in fact I have only written comments on essays from two of the books This as I mentioned is a complete collection however it is an older translation by John Florio a contemporary of Montainge which means that the English is uite archaic though still uite readable The only thing that stands out is the spelling and since there was no real standardised spelling back then this is understandable Florio was also a contemporary of Shakespeare so marking Florio down because of his spelling is sort of like doing the same with Shakespeare and English has evolved a lot since then Anyway this post is actually uite long in fact longer than what Goodreads allows me to post so instead of spilling over into the comments I have instead decided to post the commentary in my blog which also allows for better presentation that Goodreads though not by much since it is Blogger – I hope to go over to Wordpress sometime soon but due to time commitments I am not able to at this stage

  9. Janet Janet says:

    My favorite philosopher he's anecdotal rather than dialecticaldialogue or logicalmathematicallinguistical He was the first writer certainly the first philosopher who talked about personal experience of living in the body with a great generosity of spirit towards the flaws of the human being He's companionable he makes you feel that being human is a noble and worthwhile thing even if you're sick or grumpy or overwhelmed with your own failures People should throw out all their self help books and stick with Montaigne

  10. Jack Jack says:

    I think of Shakespeare his fame and endurance and although I am not one to suggest his work doesn't deserve the centrality in the English canon where it sits I wonder precisely what ualities afford him a seemingly guaranteed immortality I don't want to think about his poetic skill or his mastery of characterization Instead I find it intriguing that the authorship uestion still has such ground for conversation if not uite academic relevancy We don't know Shakespeare the man as much as we'd like; our debt in our English phraseology resides in a distant paternal figure The mystery frustrates and compels us no author today will have the luxury of being so important and yet so unknown If we knew even a fraction of Shakespeare's aesthetic theory or personal philosophy it would do harm to his legacy than anything else We appreciate his art as something timeless because the artist beholden to his own time doesn't truly existI know little about Shakespeare the man and now so much about Montaigne part of me can't help but believe their characters were likely uite similar Montaigne's essays are allMontaigne all the time He insists upon himself and he cannot escape himself If you've ever engaged in personal writing in any form you have something in common with Montaigne I write these reviews and keep a diary and occasionally try to write fiction that order is the order of the difficulty in composition I have my subject in these reviews the book and have no further obligations beyond composing my brief impression of the text When I write for myself on myself I find the words come naturally but the desire to probe further strained and painful I break into self pitying asides look at that sentence Surely I could've written something better than that Surely I have a firm enough grasp of language at this stage my vocabulary can adeuately express the reality of my emotion at this very moment? Why is there no poetry to my honesty? Are my thoughts the atoms of my being as ugly as my words make them appear? With writing honestly about myself proving such a burden it follows that exploring myself and lifting fiction from the depths of experience is harder still Montaigne writes in a fluid articulate and sometimes frustratingly casual way about those very concerns When the subject of one's writing is themselves the difficulty is not in where to start but where to finish what conclusions to make of oneself Perhaps it is a mental illness not to eventually abandon introspective writing in a fit of shame and embarrassment Contemporary society in all its propagation of technology is certainly gifted in its ability to provide pain relief for the ego In the early Church despair was among the deadly sins we know so well Just because the word 'sin' no longer collocates with despair doesn't mean it is any less destructive than the others On the contraryMontaigne is the definition of a 'constant companion' His writing is friendly appropriately scattering through trivial and fundamental topics of conversation and he never seems to change His attitudes to life and death are not really much altered from Book I to Book III he considers everything and doesn't change his mind He can be as maddening as he is agreeable his intense usage of uotes from antiuity never lets up and it can get a little tiresome engaging with someone who seems to justify everything with Aristotle or Plutarch even if he's contradicting himself in a previous essay I also think he's a better read in short bursts than in sustained dialogue Book III wearied me as he tended to trade uantity for fewer long form essays without altering his extremely digressive mode of thinking The subjects of his essays do occasionally clash with their content I think Montaigne is an essential read for anyone but not his entire oeuvre What you see is what you get Dip into this book like you would read scattered articles that catch your eye in a newspaper Montaigne's humanity is the core of his prose Befriend him visit him occasionally cease contact if he grows annoying then come back when you recall the good memories you shared I give him four stars now but our relations will undoubtedly improve Don't read all of Montaigne in a year and then never again He's a constant companion Read every so often for all time

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Essais [EPUB] ✼ Essais By Michel de Montaigne – 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 Es 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 MA ScreechIn 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 readersWith its extensive introduction and notes MA Screech's edition of Montaigne is widely regarded as the most distinguished of recent times.

  • Paperback
  • 1344 pages
  • Essais
  • Michel de Montaigne
  • English
  • 02 February 2015
  • 9780140446043

About the Author: Michel de Montaigne

Michel Eyuem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance Montaigne is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais translated literally as Attempts contains to this day some of the most widely.