#Classic: Essays by Montaigne
- Author: M. de Montaigne (1533-1592))
- Title: The Complete Essays
- Published: 1580
- Edition: Penguin Classic (1344 pages) + audio book 49 hrs 56 min
- List of Challenges 2019
- Monthly plan
- Classic Club Master list
- Michel de Montaigne explores the human condition
- …in a very personal and clever manner.
- His essays chart the course of 20 yr of self-investigation.
- He pretends to most of the vices.
- If there be any virtue in him, he says, it got in by stealth.
- I enjoyed the most personal essays:
- Book I
- This selection of essays is ‘the hook’.
- They are personal and frank.
- Unfortunately there are also many essay in
- book II and III …. I consider ‘duds’.
Happiness not be judged until after our death
- …including 140 pages entitled “Apology for Raymond Sebond’
- The “Apology for Raymond Sebond” is
- three times as long as any other essay that Montaigne wrote
- The essay has been seen as an attack on authoritrian religion and
- a covert threat to Christian faith.
- It was a slog to listen to….and
- I just started to do some household chores
- …and let the words go in one ear and out the other!
- This essay sticks out like a sour thumb
- If you encounter this essay and feel as I did
- …just skip it!
Affection of fathers for children
On resemblence of children to fathers
Book III (…there were only 3 essays I liked)
- Montaigne is the frankest and honestest of all writers.
- He does have opinions that still ring true today.
- Strong point: Montaigne writes about themes that charm the
- reader ( see my list of favorites).
- We relate to them.
- Strong point: Montaigne’s style is not dry….but daring
- …filled with depth and witty observations.
- Weak point: don’t approach these essays expecting
- that they are an easy read (21st C standard)…they are not!
- The book was published 1580 and
- …written to one sex only.
- A certain nakedness of statement was permitted
- …which our manners of a literature addressed
- …equally to both sexes, do not allow.
- Montaigne could have used the advice of one of his
- favorite authors:
- “The eloquence that diverts us to itself harms its content.” (Seneca)