Michel de Montaigne Essays 101
Table of Contents
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We have created this guide for students and those people who want to understand Montaigne Essays more clearly. The author called his project “Essais” which means “trials” or “attempts”. He used to tell that his favorite subject to learn was himself, and in the essays, Michel could express himself as he wanted. Some readers are fond of his works and others don’t understand the meaning of his stories at all. Deep knowledge of philosophy may help in it. These are not just stories about the writer and philosopher, but also a deep analysis of life itself, the world, and people around.
When you’re reading Michel de Montaigne Essays online, you may feel like an author tells you various moments from his life in an interesting manner. You feel like he is talking only to you, lets you know about erotic and private things, allows you to know many moments strangers never share. He describes what he liked to eat, how he was making love, what wine he preferred, and many other things. Above this, he was writing in his essays about how it is to have a great friend and lose him.
Who is Michel de Montaigne?
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne is a French writer who is famous for his Montaigne Essays. This is a new form in the literature that described himself. Most of his life, Michel spend in Bordeaux. When he was a child, Montaigne was studying at home with private tutors. Parents thought he should learn Latin, so Michel didn’t speak French until he was six. Later, he entered the College of Guyenne and then studied law at the University of Toulouse.
When Michel was 38, he decided to write a series of essays about his life just to distract himself because he felt bored. He didn’t even think about making something new with these trying or involving someone too deep in reading his stories. Montaigne was a philosopher and he brought a lot of philosophical problems and thoughts in his essays. Apart from this, his stories are full of skepticism and irony. If you try to read his books, you will find yourself overwhelmed by a lot of jokes, anecdotes, and philosophy in the same way. For Michel, philosophy and writing were a way of his life.
For Montaigne who was retired and wrote his essays in the tower, creating stories about himself became a way of learning a world around. Of course, some Michel de Montaigne essays critics were blaming him for writing too much about himself, but in the modern world, we can even say he would be a great blogger if he lives in our times. Not everyone has that kind of passion to write about themselves in this interesting way that combines philosophy, self-criticism, and irony. In his essays, he writes many private and even intimate things easily. Many readers appreciate his interesting style that became new for that time. Nowadays, we have a lot of possibilities to tell others what we ate for breakfast or where we were last weekend. But Montaigne was the first person who did it without Facebook and Instagram.
Montaigne Essays Analysis
The style of Michel Montaigne is humorous, lively, and direct. Sometimes it can be coarse and bawdy. From story to story, he falls in the style of a conversation with his reader. Sometimes he cites the phrases that came from ancient philosophers, but he also says every person should trust their judgments in everything. Montaigne says that life isn’t a big problem but you should get experience in solving various problems and enjoy the process.
The book is written in French and it was translated into English for Americans to read. Essays have footnotes where the author provides historical facts. During reading the complete essays of Montaigne, we can see the writer was looking for wisdom and truth about both himself and all the people around. He brings very important subjects like education for kids, religion and tyranny, friends and enemies, life and death, etc. It’s the major work unique in its genre for those times. All the stories are filled with self-analysis and understanding how various things work in this world. The author brings important and philosophical questions in an unusual way of describing his own life, including various details.
Montaigne Essays Summary
Michal Montaigne, a French lawyer, advisor, writer, diplomat, and philosopher, wrote a series of stories about himself. His essays may be called as his detailed autobiography. at the very beginning, the author didn’t even plan to create a book for publishing it for readers because he was writing for himself only. But due to his charm, wit, and open-minded writing, his writing is interesting for many readers over 400 years already. Before reading the entire book, you can find Montaigne Essays’ summary to figure out if this will be interesting for you.
All the essays of a French writer were published in three separate books. Here is a short selected summary of them:
- “By Differing Means, We Attain the Same End” – this essay describes two ways how it’s possible to win mercy after someone is defeated.
- “Idleness” – expresses the wandering mind.
- “Through Philosophy We Learn How to Die” – this essay tells about life and death.
- “The Power of the Imagination” – shows readers many things we can do with imagination.
- “The Education of Children” – ideas on how people should teach kids.
- “Friendship”- tells the difference between real and fake friends.
- “The Cannibals” – tells why Europeans should be taught by barbaric.
- “Democritus and Heraclitus” – shows common things between these philosophers.
- “Practice” – it’s an instruction on how people should prepare to die.
- “Cruelty” – explains how it’s difficult to be talented.
- “Being Presumptuous” – this essay is against vanity.
- “Collecting” – this story is against lies.
- “To Everything, There Is a Season” – this is a story about an old man who wanted to stay young.
- “A Malformed Child” – tells that everything is just a plan of Nature.
- “Repenting” – teaches there is no reason to apologize for who you are.
- “Physiognomy” – tells about plagues and wars expressed by Montaigne.
- “Experience” – this essay tells the common sense is better than fancy and empty ideals.
- “Discourse on Voluntary Servitude” – a story against tyranny in the world.
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