Essays by Michel de Montaigne - a request.

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Essays by Michel de Montaigne - a request.

Nov 8, 2019, 9:58pm

Would an FSD member who has already acquired a copy of the new FS edition of Montaigne's Essays please answer and do the following:

1. How long (how many pages) is the introduction by Sarah Bakewell?

2. Please post photos (or give a list) of the Table of Contents which illustrate which Montaigne essays have been selected for this edition?

Thanks in advance.


Edited: Nov 8, 2019, 10:19pm

>1 dlphcoracl: Mulling over a purchase, eh? So am I.

Nov 9, 2019, 12:36am

>1 dlphcoracl: Sorry for the sideways photos and poor light. These were taken on my bed while the wife is asleep. Imgur isn’t working for me so these are links to my LT gallery. Linked are the table of contents. The introduction is only 5 pages long. Knowing some of your tastes as I think I now do I think you would enjoy this volume quite a bit.

Nov 9, 2019, 7:30am

>1 dlphcoracl:

FWIW, I reckon this as good a non-LE volume as the FS has produced in recent years. The details of the binding, gilt edges, endpapers and so on are all excellent, and the internals are outstanding. The off-white paper feels good, the two-colour printing and fancy initials provide a suitably chaste level of decoration, and the choice of typeface and overall typographic design are thoroughly agreeable. It is expensive, but seems fair value to me.

There are a couple of terse but useful notes from Dr Screech, as well as the Sarah Bakewell introduction, but I recommend re-visiting Bakewell's How to live as a proper introduction to any edition of Montaigne. Re-reading that book gives me complete confidence in Bakewell's judgement in making her selection. If you set aside the two-hundred page Raymond Sebond 'essay', the selection is about half the total.

I have the three-volume FS set, and am perfectly at ease reading the English of Shakespeare, the KJV, or John Florio, so why this? It's because I don't read Montaigne from front to back, essay after essay, but rather want to pick him up to spend an hour or an evening in his company, and the Screech translation seems a more natural way to have that communication - I'm not going to lose sight of the fact that Montaigne is a man of the renaissance just because we use my language not his. The quality of this book is such as to add pleasure to that way of reading Montaigne. And if I should want a particular essay, I have the Florio, or could easily acquire the Penguin complete Screech.

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 10:57am

>3 Sorion:: Thank you for photographing the Table of Contents. As hoped for, this is an intelligent selection with many of Montaigne's finest essays included.

>4 affle:: Consider me enabled - I have ordered a copy.

My feelings with regard to reading the various translations of Montaigne are a bit different from yours. First and foremost, the FS edition is the first fine press/private press book which utilizes one of the two modern translations (M.A. Screech and Donald Frame), my primary reason for buying it. The selection of essays is well done and this appears to be in the Folio Society "sweet spot" - deluxe but not LE books which are beautifully done and priced in the $125 to $225 range.

Although it is "of the time" and concurrent with Montaigne, the John Florio translation is a non-starter for me. I find nothing romantic or essential in attempting to transport my mind backward four-hundred years in time to read thoroughly antiquated English. It is laborious and unnecessary, an impediment to my reading of the essays. In brief, I do not want to waste time and effort re-translating John Florio's translation of Montaigne - reading one translation is more than enough. Florio is not Geoffrey Chaucer and his translation is not poetical enough to warrant reading ye Olde Englishe.

The other principal attraction of the FS edition is that it is NOT a complete collection of Montaigne's essays which would have resulted in a large, heavy and cumbersome book. I DO have the Penguin hardcover edition of the complete essays in the Screech translation and the Navarre Society deluxe edition of the complete essays in the Charles Cotton/Wm. Carew Hazlitt translation so that I can fill in any gaps and comfortably read a bit further if and when desired.

Edited: Nov 9, 2019, 12:37pm

>5 dlphcoracl:
“I do have the Penguin hardcover edition of the complete essays in the Screech translation.”

I have found the Kindle to be a perfect accessory for reading Montaigne. The Screech translation is my favorite, but the only complete edition is Penguin’s 1,278-page paperback monstrosity with tiny print. On a Kindle I can read one essay at breakfast and another at lunch without having to hold a book open with one hand.

Nov 9, 2019, 1:19pm

Thanks both for diverting my attention to the Penguin and the Kindle edition. A link or ISBN would be much appreciated as I feel that the kindle store seems to be a midnfield in that one should be careful and double the publisher before buying.

Nov 9, 2019, 2:01pm

>7 ironjaw:
Well — when I try to call up a description of my 1,364-page copy from the Kindle store, I get a message “not currently available.” However, when I type “Montaigne Penguin” in the store’s search box, the first choice that pops up is a Screech edition of 464 pages, so I’m not sure what to think.

Nov 9, 2019, 11:03pm

>5 dlphcoracl: I infer then that you do now own the Nonesuch Press edition of Montaigne.

Nov 10, 2019, 1:15am

>9 ultrarightist:

LOL. The Nonesuch Press Montaigne and the more highly regarded set from the Riverside Press, designed by Bruce Rogers, both use the John Florio translation- which I have avoided.

Nov 10, 2019, 2:20am

I just wanted to add that a nice little addition to this book is the extra sturdy slipcase provided. Much thicker then the usual slipcases that FS provides. Undecorated but built to last.

Nov 10, 2019, 9:02am

>8 jroger1: it seems true kindle store has pulled that version out and is not for sale.

Nov 10, 2019, 12:01pm

>3 Sorion: Thanks for the TofC photo. I also appreciate the thoughts of others about the translation and other, complete versions of Montaigne. Though my primary interest is in fiction, I was happy to see this book in the Christmas offering and it is high on my list. I think dlphcoracl is right that there is a Folio Society sweetspot and this book looks to be right there given my tastes and interests.

Jun 15, 2020, 8:06am

I downloaded the free Kindle sample of the Screech translation, and noticed it has a wildly annoying 'feature'; namely that the text is littered with bracketed letters from A-D denoting which version of the essays each part is from. So text looks like this:

(A) The most common way of softening the hearts of those we have offended once they have us at their mercy with vengeance at hand is to move them to commiseration and pity (C) by our submissiveness.

Is this the case in the Folio Society version? Or even of the actual printed version of this Penguin edition?

Jun 15, 2020, 8:22am

>14 HarpsichordKnight:

Not a feature of the FS edition.

Jun 15, 2020, 8:51am

>15 affle: That's a relief - thank you!