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The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne

The Complete Essays (1580)

by Michel de Montaigne

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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3,357251,619 (4.33)1 / 30

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English (20)  Dutch (2)  French (2)  German (1)  All languages (25)
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16th Century French noble retires to his home in later life to wax lyrical on cannibals, the limits of human knowledge, experience, and whatever else occurs to him. Can't really sum up 1300 pages of that, but I'd recommend reading him, perhaps in a selection rather than as a whole, although it was a good tome to take away on a holiday with a bit of travelling. His style is conversational, so it feels like time spent in good company rather than hard work. You can sense the cusp of a new era in his scepticism, but he's also strongly attached to the Catholic church and the existing order - he was writing during the French wars of religion, so that was not a small matter. He was a man of his time and also a decent and interesting guy, and I found plenty of appeal in both. ( )
1 vote roblong | Jun 19, 2014 |
In essence a late 16th diary of an aristocrat in a France torn by religious wars. It was mostly focused on his thoughts and his opinions in th elater years of his life as he observed his own aging. There were only hints at the chaos around his estates. Incredibly well read on the Roman and Greek Classics which served as his philosophical fodder as he thought about his life and his times in France. No one today could be so intimate with these Classic writing. It is what an educated individual was weaned on. After reading all 1269 pages I understand how his thinking eventually became part of the Enlightenment. ( )
  JBreedlove | Apr 21, 2014 |
THis volume is the continuation of book I and beginning of book II.
  asclibrary | Jan 8, 2014 |
Montaigne is known as the father of the essay for good reason--he coined the very word for them. An essai is french for attempt--which gives you a sense of Montaigne's style and intent. They're very conversational, as if he's thinking out loud. A little rambling, yes, in the way the conversation with a friend can be, jumping from subject to subject. Some reviewers complained he's vain--well, he is a bit of a know-it-all, including a great deal of quotes from classical sources: Homer, Aesop, Euripides, Plato, Aristotle, Vergil, Caesar, Lucretius, Tacitus, Plutarch... For me that was part of his charm. I'm with the Librarything reviewer who said that "this is a liberal education in a book." There seems to be no aspect of life he doesn't cover in his hundred plus essays.

Montaigne actually struck me as both humane and strikingly modern in quite a few respects--in his concern for native Americans being colonized by the Europeans, his opposition to torture, his concern for animals, among other instances. I found Montaigne lively, often funny, readable, quotable. More so than his imitator Francis Bacon and far, far more so than Emerson. All three, interestingly, have essays on friendship. Montaigne's is the wisest and most moving of the three. ( )
2 vote LisaMaria_C | Jun 4, 2013 |
I rarely give up on books but i did so with this one. The writing is ponderous - the self-satisfied tone unrelenting. In short - brutal. ( )
  TomMcGreevy | Nov 24, 2012 |
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» Add other authors (175 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Michel de Montaigneprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Černý, VáclavTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
RaphaelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Screech, M. A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This, reader, is an honest book. It warns you at the outset that my sole purpose in writing it has been a private and domestic one.
The most usual way to soften the hearts of those we have offended, when having vengeance in their hand, they hold us at their mercy, is to move them by submission to commiseration and pity;  defiance, courage, and resolution--means altogether different--have sometimes served the same purpose.
Reader, thou hast here an honest book; it doth at the outset forewarn thee that, in contriving the same, I have proposed to myself no other than a domestic and private end: I have had no consideration at all either to thy service or to my glory.
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This work is the complete Essays, do not include selected essays, abstracts, or individual volumes from multi-volume editions.
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This work features a selection of Michel de Montaigne's highly original essays on a variety of subjects - from coaches to cannibals.

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Average: (4.33)
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An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

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Penguin Australia

3 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140446044, 014017897X, 0140446028


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