Read Los ensayos: Según la edición de 1595 de Marie de Gournay by Michel de Montaigne Online

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En 1580, Michel de Montaigne dio a la imprenta la primera edición de sus dos libros de Los ensayos. El éxito fue tan arrollador que, dos años más tarde, apareció una nueva edición, aumentada con un tercer libro y con notables adiciones y correcciones en los dos primeros. Se completaba así la redacción de uno de los libros que mayor prestigio e influencia han tenido en el pEn 1580, Michel de Montaigne dio a la imprenta la primera edición de sus dos libros de Los ensayos. El éxito fue tan arrollador que, dos años más tarde, apareció una nueva edición, aumentada con un tercer libro y con notables adiciones y correcciones en los dos primeros. Se completaba así la redacción de uno de los libros que mayor prestigio e influencia han tenido en el pensamiento occidental. Sin embargo, el gentilhombre perigordino siguió trabajando en el texto de sus ensayos hasta su muerte, acaecida en 1592. Tres años más tarde, Marie de Gournay, «fille d’alliance» de Montaigne, presentaba una edición de Los ensayos siguiendo las instrucciones que le diera su autor, edición que durante siglos ha sido considerada canónica, hasta que Strowski preparó la suya entre 1906 y 1933. Hoy, el de Marie de Gournay es visto de nuevo, con justicia, como el texto de referencia, y sirve de base a todas las ediciones recientes fiables. Éste es también el que el lector hispano encontrará en la presente edición, enriquecida con referencias a los múltiples estadios que experimentó el texto y con un completo aparato de notas....

Title : Los ensayos: Según la edición de 1595 de Marie de Gournay
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ISBN : 9788496834170
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 1736 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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Los ensayos: Según la edición de 1595 de Marie de Gournay Reviews

  • Geoff
    2018-11-07 23:45

    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 qualify 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!

  • Lizzy
    2018-11-09 23:02

    "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 more 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 expecting.Ah, 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.

  • Warwick
    2018-10-23 23:03

    Clive James says somewhere that certain people throughout history are like ambassadors from the present stationed in the past: though separated from us by centuries, to read them is to share in thoughts and feelings that we recognise intimately as our own. And this is what Montaigne has been for me since I started reading him several years ago. He is the first person in history who strikes me as modern – or at least, the first to put that modern sense of uncertainty and existential nerviness down on paper, to write something that is not didactic or improving or even purely entertaining, but animated instead by curiosity, doubt, overeducated boredom, trivial irritations.The scepticism in particular has become probably his most famous quality – his best-known line nowadays is the rhetorical question, Que sçay-je? ‘What do I know?’ Certainly his essays – meaning ‘efforts’, ‘attempts’ – are endearingly open about how uncertain he is when it comes to any of the big questions. He doesn't bluster his way through his lack of knowledge, but faces it head-on with disarming cheerfulness, and his arguments themselves are not carefully structured means to approach knowledge, but rather meandering and conversational in a way that is completely unlike other writers of the time. Je parle au papier comme je parle au premier que je rencontre, he says – in John Florio's 1603 translation (on which much more later), ‘I speake unto Paper, as to the first man I meete.’ Still, his lack of expertise is something that regularly bothers him:Est-ce pas faire une muraille sans pierre, ou chose semblable, que de bastir des livres sans science et sans art? Les fantasies de la musique sont conduictes par art, les miennes par sort.To write bookes without learning is it not to make a wall without stone or such like thing? Conceits of musicke are directed by arte, mine by hap.It's unlikely to worry any of his readers. The range of topics addressed by Montaigne is gloriously all-encompassing: stick a pin in the nearest encyclopaedia and he will have something to say on whatever subject has been thus perforated. And crucially, it's not just the big subjects like war, religion, diplomacy, the Classical tradition. It's also the minor stuff, the kind of things that you worry about in the bath – how annoying it is to have to get up early, whether people should talk over dinner or just shut up and eat, what to wear in bed. Like men through history, he frets that he can't last long enough during sex and that his cock is too small – but unlike Horace or the Earl of Rochester, he doesn't write grandiose poetry on the subject, he just moans about it in humdrum, day-to-day prose. You come to realise there is no issue he won't write about. ‘Of all naturall actions, there is none wherein I am more loath to be troubled or interrupted when I am at it,’ he announces, on doing a poo.Of course that frankness, that ruthless self-analysis, means that when he does come to the big subjects he's often totally riveting. I loved reading his thoughts on religion, which are incredibly undogmatic and open-minded given the context of sixteenth-century Europe. In Book II, chapter 12 – one of the longest essays and often printed separately – he ostensibly sets out to defend Christianity, but in his clear-sighted assessment of the arguments against religion he articulates intelligent agnosticism better than many atheists. We are Christians because we are born here and now, he perceives; if people really believed in the precepts of their faith, they would be happy to die; and if there were any real reward after death it must be in some mortal way, otherwise we would no longer be ‘us’. Following his mind through these arguments is quite a thrill.He also comments on current events, of all kinds. After France adopts the Gregorian calendar in December 1582, he takes the time to write irritably on the missing eleven days (a circumstance which leads him, via a typically Montanian series of tangents, to end up discussing the merits of sex with the disabled). And his thoughts on the Spanish conquest of the Americas – the full details of which were still then emerging – make for a welcome reminder that not everyone at the time was gung-ho about the excesses of the colonial project.…nous nous sommes servis de leur ignorance et inexperience à les plier plus facilement vers la trahison, luxure, avarice et vers toute sorte d'inhumanité et de cruauté, à l'exemple et patron de nos meurs. Qui mit jamais à tel pris le service de la mercadence et de la trafique? Tant de villes rasées, tant de nations exterminées, tant de millions de peuples passez au fil de l'espée, et la plus riche et belle partie du monde bouleversée pour la negotiation des perles et du poivre: mechaniques victoires. Jamais l'ambition, jamais les inimitiez publiques ne pousserent les hommes les uns contre les autres à si horribles hostilitez et calamitez si miserables.we have made use of their ignorance and inexperience, to drawe them more easily unto treason, fraude, luxurie, avarice and all manner of inhumanity and cruelty, by the example of our life and patterne of our customes. Who ever raised the service of marchandize and benefit of traffick to so high a rate? So many goodly citties ransacked and raged; so many nations destroyed and made desolate; so infinite millions of harmelesse people of all sexes, states and ages, massacred, ravaged and put to the sword; and the richest, the fairest and the best part of the world topsiturvied, ruined and defaced for the traffick of Pearles and Pepper. Oh mechanicall victories, oh base conquest. Never did greedy revenge, publik wrongs or generall enmities, so moodily enrage and so passionately incense men against men, unto so horrible hostilities, bloody dissipation, and miserable calamities.On gender relations he offers an intriguing mix of traditionalism and forward-thinking. He makes frequent off-hand remarks about the place of women which seem to suggest that he is pretty representative of his time – commenting, for instance, that if women want to read they should confine themselves to theology and a little poetry – but then at other times he can be amazingly progressive. A long essay ‘On some verses of Virgil’ (III.5) includes a fantastic investigation of sexual politics where he is unexpectedly thoughtful about the expectations placed on women by male society, and he rails against the hypocrisy of what we'd now call slut-shaming. His sympathy for those who do not fit patriarchal expectations shows that he grasps the fundamental point:Les femmes n'ont pas tort du tout quand elles refusent les reigles de vie qui sont introduites au monde, d'autant que ce sont les hommes qui les ont faictes sans elles.Women are not altogether in the wrong, when they refuse the rules of life prescribed to the World, forsomuch as onely men have established them without their consent.In the end, although he can't stop himself feeling instinctively that a woman's role is different from a man's, he recognises that much of this is down to social pressures, and his simple conclusion is in some ways centuries ahead of its time: les masles et femelles sont jettez en mesme moule: sauf l'institution et l'usage, la difference n'y est pas grande. ‘Male and female are cast in one same moulde; instruction and custome excepted, there is no great difference betweene them.’Those of you who read French may be noticing here that Montaigne is often easier to understand than Florio. At first this was a surprise to me as I flicked between them, but it's a good illustration of the fact that English has changed a lot more in four hundred years than French has. Many were the times that I turned to the Middle French to illuminate what seemed an obscure passage in my native language. A Florio phrase like ‘it is enough to dip our pens in inke, too much, to die them in blood’ seems to have two or three possible interpretations. It's only when you read the original – c'est assez de tramper nos plumes en ancre, sans les tramper en sang – that you realise Florio's first comma is the fulcrum on which two perfectly-balanced halves of the sentence pivot.Take another look at the very end of that quote on the conquest of Mexico, above. Montaigne's elegant chiasmus (horribles hostilitez…calamitez si miserables) has been abandoned; meanwhile, to the horrible hostilities and miserable calamities has been added a dose of ‘bloody dissipation’, on Florio's own initiative. Similar cases abound (he also translates bouleversée there as ‘topsiturvied’!), and to me they say something deeply significant about the two languages, at least as they existed then. One final example will make my point: here, Montaigne is discussing how strange it is that sex is something hidden and shameful, while death is a public glory:Chacun fuit à le voir naistre, chacun suit à le voir mourir. Pour le destruire, on cerche un champ spacieux en pleine lumiere; pour le construire, on se musse dans un creux tenebreux et contraint. C'est le devoir de se cacher et rougir pour le faire; et c'est gloire, et naissent plusieurs vertus de le sçavoir deffaire.Each one avoideth to see a man borne, but all runne hastily to see him dye. To destroy him we seeke a spacious field and a full light, but to construct him we hide our selves in some darke corner and worke as close as we may. It is our dutie to conceale our selves in making him; it is our glory, and the originall of many vertues to destroy him being framed.The French is precisely assembled, and Florio ignores the precision entirely. Montaigne's exact, rhyming counterpoints (chacun fuit…chacun suit, faire…deffaire) are dropped in favour of a profusion of circumlocution (‘each one avoideth…all runne’, ‘making him…to destroy him being framed’). Where Montaigne is a Rolls-Royce engine, Florio is a cartoon jetpack. And yet! Where Florio fails to capture his source is precisely where he best represents the allusive, poly-synonymous essence of his own native tradition. While Montaigne convinces you that the genius of French lies in its clarity (Ce qui n'est pas clair n'est pas français, as Antoine de Rivarol would say two hundred years later), Florio suggests that the genius of English lies by contrast in its ambiguity, and the best English writers of the time – which is to say the best English writers of all time, Shakespeare, Browne et al. – were precisely those who mastered its allusive and multivocabular messiness.Well, I won't push that any further, and Montaigne himself would doubtless have disagreed. (‘Our speech hath his infirmities and defects, as all things else have,’ he says; and elsewhere, in a passage that warmed my anti-prescriptivist heart, ‘According to the continuall variation that hitherto hath followed our French tongue, who may hope that its present forme shall be in use fifty yeares hence?…We say it is now come to a full perfection. There is no age but saith as much of hirs.’) At any rate, reading these two writers together throws up all kinds of fascinating suggestions and contemplations, and it meant that I ended up reading basically all the essays twice (and two or three of them I read for a third time in MA Screech's modern English translation). For those curious about Florio, the NYRB has published a selection of his versions of the Essays under the intensely irritating title of Shakespeare's Montaigne, though neither Montaigne nor Florio need Shakespeare's coat-tails to ride on – and anyway, apart from one famous bit in The Tempest, the evidence for Shakespeare's having read Florio is not very exciting.In the end though, whatever language you read Montaigne in, his humaneness and his sympathy will stay with you. By the time he writes the final volume he is at the end of his life, and his tone has not become bitter or regretful in the least. Everywhere he shows a desire to find a middle way between the intellectual and the physical, the elevated and the practical, which I find extremely cheering. The last chapter, ‘On Experience’, sums up the feelings about how life should be lived that he has been investigating throughout the essays, and as always his concern is not to criticise but instead to forgive, to understand, to encourage. He invented an entire genre, but no one has achieved greater effects with it than he did himself.Il a passé sa vie en oisiveté, disons nous; je n'ay rien faict d'aujourd'huy.--Quoy, avez vous pas vescu? C'est non seulement la fondamentale mais la plus illustre de vos occupations…. Avez vous sceu mediter et manier vostre vie? vous avez faict la plus grande besoigne de toutes. Pour se montrer et exploicter nature n'a que faire de fortune: elle se montre egallement en tous estages et derriere, comme sans rideau. Composer nos meurs est nostre office, non pas composer des livres, et gaigner, non pas des batailles et provinces, mais l'ordre et tranquillité à nostre conduite.Hee hath passed his life in idleness, say we; alas! I have done nothing this day. What, have you not lived? It is not only the fundamentall, but the noblest of your occupation. […] Have you knowen how to meditate and mannage your life? you have accomplished the greatest worke of all. For a man to shew and exploit himselfe nature hath no neede of fortune; she equally shewes herselfe upon all grounds, in all sutes, before and behinde, as it were without curteines, welt, or gard. Have you knowne how to compose your manners? you have done more than he who hath composed bookes. Have you knowne how to take rest? you have done more than be who hath taken Empires and Citties.

  • Roy Lotz
    2018-10-19 23:51

    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 Language.Now I finally have an answer to the famous “desert island book” question: 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 more 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 quote 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 more 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 quite 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 quasi-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 exquisite 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 quest 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 more 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.

  • Julia
    2018-11-11 00:04

    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 more 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 him.I 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 Experience."I 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.

  • Szplug
    2018-11-05 19:58

    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 quiet paragraphs from his essays on Liars and Cowards scorches the flesh from deceitful bones and craven limbs.Thanks 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 true.BTW - 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 more elegant than Screech's, more suave, but with all the edges sanded and hence less true to le Gros Guyennoise.

  • Pantelis
    2018-11-03 18:58

    Montaigne writing in his library, a blogger in his private Internet...

  • Jorge
    2018-11-10 15:38

    “El hombre es un objeto extraordinariamente vano, diverso y fluctuante”.Es una lástima que una vez concluido un libro sólo queden restos de él en la memoria y esto sólo por un muy corto tiempo, para luego desaparecer casi por completo, permaneciendo sólo un lejano y tal vez distorsionado recuerdo de su contenido, casi como si el libro nunca hubiese pasado por nuestros ojos. Lo digo porque estoy seguro que casi todas las ideas vertidas en esta obra por el célebre pensador y escritor francés, Michel de Montaigne, no saldrán a flote de ese olvido al que están condenadas y menos aún podré retenerlas mi conciencia. Una muestra de las ideas con las que este autor ha poblado nuestro firmamento intelectual: “Las mujeres tomarán de la filosofía, los razonamientos que les enseñan a juzgar las acciones de los hombres, nuestras inclinaciones y costumbres, a defenderse de nuestras traiciones, a ordenar la ligereza de sus propios deseos, a preservar su libertad, a prolongar los placeres de la vida, y a soportar humanamente la inconstancia de un amante, la rudeza de un marido y la importunidad de los años y de las arrugas…”Definitivamente éste no es un libro para la playa, ni siquiera para leer en la cama a la tenue luz de una lamparilla, más bien es un libro para leerlo bien despierto, erguido en una silla y apoyado en un sólido escritorio con una luz intensa, similar a la que emana este pródigo y poderoso texto. Más que un libro parar leer es un libro para pensar y estudiar. Forma y contenido son insuperables ya que el autor trata asuntos sumamente difíciles y espinosos con un lenguaje pleno y brillante que nos llena y arrebata. La sustancia de la obra es inmensa, pero en resumidas cuentas versa sobre la condición humana. Su lenguaje suave y agradable está dotado al mismo tiempo de una belleza y una simplicidad naturales. Montaigne, como dice la introducción, es un hombre universal, tal vez el más grande europeo de la literatura francesa. Con Michel de Montaigne podríamos decir que toman impulso o se inician muchas facetas del hombre moderno: los derechos humanos, la fuerza de la moral, la individualidad, el progreso intelectual, la filosofía de las luces y algunas otras más. Una reflexión que hay que hacerse es que es un libro escrito hace más de 400 años y como es natural el texto a través del tiempo ha tenido varias interpretaciones a medida que el pensamiento, las necesidades y los valores humanos se han ido transformando con el devenir de los siglos. El mundo de aquellos años y su entorno particular dista mucho de lo que conforma al actual y por lo mismo tanto el pensamiento y la cosmovisión del hombre del siglo XXI difiere mucho de la del hombre del siglo XVI. No sabría afirmar si el pensamiento de hoy, comparado con el de anteriores siglos, es más vano y más trivial o, bien, más sofisticado y poderoso. Casi todo se ha trastocado en cinco siglos: las preocupaciones humanas ahora son otras, nuestros temores se han complejizado, las ambiciones se han sofisticado, las relaciones humanas se han envanecido, el sentimiento llamado amor ha mutado por muchos factores, la idea de libertad es muy distinta, las metas que ahora nos trazamos seguramente no tienen nada que ver con las que los hombres de aquella época se esforzaban; el ritmo de la vida y el manejo del tiempo se encuentran en otra dimensión. Incluso la propia escritura se ha ido transformando a través de los siglos; por ejemplo, en aquellos años de ardua y fructífera labor en la que Montaigne concibió y escribió sus “Ensayos”, no existía el párrafo ni la puntuación y por lo tanto la transmisión de las ideas era muy diferente. La propia lengua ha evolucionado enormemente creando nuevas palabras y nuevos significados y conceptos. En suma ahora asistimos a otro mundo muy diferente, con un ser humano trocado, pero que ciertamente no sería posible sin aquel. A pesar de todo muchas de las ideas de Montaigne se conservan intactas y otras lo han convertido en un hombre profético. Gran parte del libro se asienta en sentencias, teorías, apotegmas y pensamientos de la época clásica, ya que el autor recurre constantemente a pensadores como Sócrates, Plinio, Cicerón, Pitágoras, Séneca, Platón, Epicuro, Catón y otros más que la historia ha consagrado para siempre.La libertad, la razón, la religión, Dios, el vicio y la virtud; la fortaleza, la tristeza, la muerte, y muchísimos más son los temas que toca la pluma de Montaigne. Todos ellos unidos en esta obra hacen de ella una especie de manual para sobrevivir digna y virtuosamente en el globo terráqueo.Enclaustrado en su Castillo durante años y años tan sólo para pensar y escribir sobre el ser humano, o más bien sobre él mismo, los “Ensayos” de Montaigne han arrojado desde entonces una nueva luz sobre el mundo, una luz que aún vibra y traza destellos para iluminar nuestros inciertos caminos; una luz a la que Montaigne hace pasar, primeramente, por el prisma de su propio ser. En esencia se trata de una obra que nace de una sola pregunta que este autor francés se hace: "¿Qué sé yo?"“Todos miran delante suyo, yo miro dentro de mí”.No es un libro fácil de leer, incluso se puede volver fatigoso, ya que además de su extensión, el autor nos lleva a través de sus múltiples razonamientos, nos da ejemplos continuos de su exposición de motivos y, en fin, nos conduce a través de sus lucubraciones y larguísimas disquisiciones en las que a veces nos perdemos; sin embargo todos los temas son abordados con una sabiduría dulce y un pensamiento libre de ataduras tan comunes en aquel lejano siglo XVI, lo que hace que el amplio texto también se haga ligero y agradable debido al brillo uniforme, a la dulzura perpetua y a la belleza floreciente con que Montaigne acomete esta vastísima obra y que la convierte en un libro entrañable. En suma podríamos atrevernos a decir que se trata de una Biblia pagana y, al mismo tiempo, se constituye en uno de los faros de mayor luminosidad a los que he tenido acceso y del cual emana una luz que traspone el paso de los siglos y que llega a nuestro intelecto venciendo todas las barreras del tiempo.“Yo me guardaré, si puedo, de que mi muerte diga nada que primero no haya dicho mi vida y abiertamente".

  • Florencia
    2018-10-27 18:50

    A Montaigne essay a day keeps the doctor away.BOOK 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 137.3. 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 mentis[Idleness always produces fickle changes of mind]Lucan, Pharsalia, IV, 704.9. 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, more hesitant, never speak without thinking and working it all out beforehand.11. 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 here.40. Reflections upon Cicero41. On not sharing one’s fame42. On the inequality 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 pace.45. 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

  • David Sarkies
    2018-10-29 23:04

    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 quite archaic, though still quite 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 quite 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).

  • Özlem
    2018-10-20 16:47

    Hayatla ilgili neredeyse aklımıza gelebilecek her şeyi yazmış Montaigne. Ve bunu o kadar samimi bir şekilde yapmış ki okurken sanki Montaigne karşımda ve bana öğüt veriyormuş gibi hissettim. Hatta bazı yerlerde "ee napmam gerek bu durumda?" diye düşünürken bir sonraki cümlede cevaplarımı buldum. Kesinlikle okunması gerektiğini düşündüğüm ve benim de tekrardan okuyacağım güzel mi güzel eserlerden biri.

  • Jim Coughenour
    2018-10-28 15:39

    I've been skipping my way around Montaigne's superb Essays this summer. This is possibly the best bedside book ever – or if you're a morning person, an excellent companion for a leisurely cup of coffee.Written almost 500 years ago, these essays are as fresh as tomorrow. Montaigne is always ahead of us. His genuinely compassionate, restless and skeptical mind never flags in its humanistic curiosity – and his quiet observations and tentative conclusions will shock even the most jaded reader with a sense of discovery and delight.I grew up with Donald Frame translation, but I much prefer this unsanitized version by M A Screech (which comes in a handsome if hefty Penguin edition), as Montaigne could get right to the point when required: Les Roys et les philosophes fientent, et les dames aussie. Kings and philosophers shit; and so do ladies.Wisdom rarely comes so unadorned.

  • Alan
    2018-10-17 18:44

    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.

  • Marc
    2018-11-14 17:53

    A very colourful collection of thoughts/essays, written in a time it was not usual to expose oneself. I admire Montaigne's honesty and straightforwardness. He observes daily live and especially his own behavior. The extensive use of latin citations (as was common use by humanists of that time) was irritating at first, but I got used to it. From a historical point of view his longer essay "Apology for Raymond Sebond" was very interesting; in it Montaigne pointedly acknowledges the limitations of reason.My only doubt about this book is that Montaigne kind of propagates mediocraty a bit too much. For him that was in line with the very popular stoicism of his time.

  • Janet
    2018-10-15 23:48

    My favorite philosopher, he's anecdotal rather than dialectical/dialogue or logical/mathematical/linguistical. 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.

  • William1
    2018-11-15 00:04

    Second reading.

  • David
    2018-10-29 17:39

    Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) is famous for shutting himself away in a book-lined tower in 1572 and assaying his thoughts and opinions, essentially attempting to discover what, if anything, he really knew about himself and the human condition. Descartes attempted the same sort of venture in 1637 in his three Discourses, prefaced by his celebrated Discourse on Method, in which his starting point was that all he knew for certain was that he existed, and systematically climbed his way out of a pit of epistemological doubt. Montaigne's Essays, being a catalogue of his sober reflections on everything under the sun, began as a self-help cure for a bout of melancholy, and flowered in all directions, in the manner of Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy in the next century. These were all men of the European Renaissance, and we can see in them the effects of the collapse of medieval certainties, the growing pains as the modern world struggled to throw off the fetters of centuries of dogmatism and restricted intellectual freedoms. Montaigne’s title for the book is actually Essais de Michel de Montaigne, which is translated as Essays. The word Essais has two meanings in French, as the work of an apprentice, and as an assay in the chemical sense as applied to character, namely an analysis of the writer, the plumbing of his personality and constituent parts. Montaigne is analysing himself, but is not claiming to have produced his masterpiece. The Essays were originally arranged into two books, though a third one followed later as his ideas developed and proliferated. Each book contains many chapters, each of which in turn contains many assays. They are strewn with quotations from the Latin poets, for Latin was the language he was most at ease with. The original intention seems to have been to write a history of ideas, mainly referring to the ancients, but as he wrote about Socrates and other thinkers and compared them with his own opinions and convictions, he gradually came to realise that what he was really doing was studying himself, Michel de Montaigne, and obeying the injunction of the Delphic Oracle, Know Thyself.With a background in diplomacy and public service (he was twice elected Mayor of Bordeaux), Montaigne considered himself a gentleman rather than a scholar, and prized honest inquiry above word play and displays of showy verbosity. So there is in his Essays a strong sense of someone honestly probing into what man really is, and looking for advice concerning how to live and die.The complete Essays is a very thick volume (almost 1,300 pages in the 1987 translation for Penguin Classics by MA Screech). The chapters are not arranged in their order of composition, and various consecutive entries within them were written at widely different times but were left undated. Recent translators and editors have introduced paragraphs, references and punctuation to make the work more digestible for modern taste and the result is a work of endless fascination to anyone with an interest in self knowledge and human nature.

  • Laura
    2018-10-15 22:36

    I am proofreading this book in French through Free Literature, published by Librarie de Paris, 1907.Premier Volume:The original file was provided by Internet Arquive.

  • Shyam
    2018-10-23 22:53

    “Montaigne was persuaded that everything had already been thought and said, and was anxious to show that man is always and everywhere one and the same.” - Introduction to the Essays by Andre Gide (From The Heritage Press, 3 Volume Edition, 1946)_____________(N.B. I have inserted a lot of quotes from Montaigne because he is the most qualified to talk about Montaigne, and he is speaking much more adeptly than what I could ever hope to say; they also give you a flavour of the Essays)_____________I remember when I read the first essay I thought to myself, “So he’s going to touch upon a wide range of topics, but not go very in-depth.” This is true for the shorter essays. But, like I have found of most things, the longer ones are the best.They are not just a series of essays about various topics, philosophical or otherwise. They are not just the best endorsement for one to read the ancient Greek & Roman authors. They paint a tender, and detailed portrait of this Renaissance Humanist & Skeptic.Montaigne writes in a discursive manner, which I personally loved. It reads as very down-to-earth, very conversational. He is very good at adding a human touch to matters great and small.I think you will get the most out of the essays if you have a certain amount of kinship with Montaigne, if you share some of his views; he puts so many forth that you will no doubt find some that you share in common. That was one of his aims in writing these essays in fact; to find a friend, a kindred spirit. As I read, I realised that we shared many similarities. A love for the ancient Greeks & Romans (esp. the latter; see the extract in my profile) being but one.I remember the essay where he really grabbed my attention and I thought that there is more to this man than has been displayed through the previous essays: Book I, Essay XXVI: Of the Education of Children. “Those who, as our custom is, undertake to direct several minds of such diverse measure and structure with the same lessons and similar rules of conduct - it is no wonder if, among a whole multitude of children, they find only two or three who produce any sound fruit from their teaching.” - Bk. I., Ess. XXVI“Let him make him sift every thing, and lodge nothing in his brain on authority merely and on trust; let not Aristotle's principles be his principles, any more than those of the Stoics or Epicureans; let this diversity of opinions be put before him: he will choose if he can; if not, he will remain in doubt. None but a fool is sure and determined.” - Bk. I., Ess. XXVI_____________Education is something very dear to my heart, and it’s by random events of fortune that I have become aware of the classic pieces of literature, ancient and modern. We both share the opinion that the (mass) educational systems are not very good. I thoroughly believe that people’s lives can be changed, truly changed, by education, and it’s one of the great misfortunes that most people, even though they may have the potential, aptitude, affinity, or interest, will never pursue or learn deeply about subjects that interest them throughout the course of their life.“He who has not directed his life in general to a certain end, for him it is impossible to adjust the separate acts; for him it is impossible to arrange the pieces, who has not a figure of the whole in his head.” - Bk. II., Ess. I“I care little for new books because the old ones seem to me fuller and stronger.” - Bk. II., Ess. X“Not having been able to do what they desire, they have made a show of desiring what they were able to do.” - Bk. II., Ess. XIX“They who study without books are all in the same plight.” - Bk. III., Ess. III“Books have many agreeable qualities for those who know how to choose them.” - Bk. III., Ess. III“Let us set aside the common people,- ‘Who snore, though awake . . . for whom, living and seeing, life is almost death.’ (Lucretius III, 1048, 1046) who are not conscious of themselves, who do not judge themselves, who let most of their natural faculties lie idle.” - Bk. II., Ess. XIIThe central theme throughout many of the Essays is the study of himself. And that is what I think Montaigne would have liked the reader to do, to study themselves. Engage in meta-cognition. Think about what you are doing. Be aware of your faults. Reform them. Aspire to be the best version of yourself as you can. Live according to Nature. Ignore how you appear to other people’s eyes; care only about how you look in your own:“In every thing and everywhere my eyes are enough to keep me straight; there are no others which watch me so closely or which I more respect.” - Bk. I., Ess. XXIII“Let him be able to do everything, but enjoy doing only the best things” - Bk. I., Ess. XXVI“It is many years that I have had only myself for the target of my thoughts, that I have observed and studied myself alone; truly, if I do study any thing else, it is only to fit it immediately upon myself, or, to say better, within myself.” - Bk. II., Ess. VI“By diligence, by study, and by art, and have raised it to the highest point of wisdom that it can attain.” - Bk. II., Ess. XII“...others do not at all see you, they guess about you by uncertain conjectures; they see not your natural disposition so much as your artificial one” - Bk. III., Ess. II“I listen graciously and beseemingly to all their reasonings; but so far as I remember, I have never to this hour trusted any but my own. For me, these others are but flitting trifles that buzz about my will.” - Bk. III., Ess. II“They who do not know themselves may feed upon underserved approbation; not I, who see myself and scrutinise myself even to my bowels, and who know well what appertains to me.” - Bk. III., Ess. V“...to wrestle with the defects of my nature and to overcome them by myself.” - Bk. III., Ess. VI“...but I proposed to myself unattainable standards.” - Bk. III., Ess. VII“We defraud ourselves of what is useful to ourselves in creating appearances in accordance with common opinion. We are not so much concerned as to what our existence is in ourselves and in fact, as we are to what is in the public observation.” - Bk. III., Ess. IX“Reform only yourself, for there you have full power.” - Bk., III., Ess. IX“The most honourable indication of sincerity in such necessity is freely to acknowledge one's own fault and that of others; to resist and retard with all one's might the tendency towards evil; to follow this propension only against one's will; to have better hope and better desire.” - Bk. III., Ess. IX“Every one turns elsewhere and to the future, inasmuch as no one turns to himself.” - Bk. III., Ess. XII“I study every thing - what I should avoid, what I should imitate.” - Bk. III., Ess. XIII“Have you been able to meditate on your life and arrange it? then you have done the greatest of all works... Have you learned to compose your character? you have done more than he who has composed books. Have you learned to lay hold of repose? you have done more than he who has laid hold of empires and cities. Mans great and glorious master-work is to live befittingly; all other things --to reign, to lay up treasure, to build--are at best mere accessories and aids.. It is for small souls, buried under the weight of affairs not to know how to free themselves therefrom entirely; not to know how to leave them and return to them.” - Bk. III., Ess. XIIIWith the Essays, Montaigne takes you on a journey: into the very heart of his soul, and outward to all manner of subjects, different times, and different people. Maybe you heard that he quotes a lot from the Ancient Greeks & Romans:“I do not quote others, save the more fully to express myself” - Bk. I., Ess. XXVII don't know if there exist, people who did not enjoy these quotations (of course I can understand if this is because they were not translated; you should absolutely get a copy where this is the case) but if they do, that quote (along with many demonstrations of his own defects concerning knowledge) justifies his use of them. The ancients have much to teach us and reading these essays, if you are not already familiar with the authors who he quotes, are a great way to see that.(He quotes most often from Plutarch and Seneca. I have read Seneca, and can see how much he was influenced by him. I will be reading Plutarch’s Parallel Lives soon, but his essays contain a great many quotations from Plutarch’s lesser-known (what an injustice!) work, the Moralia, or Morals. It’s a shame that I cannot find a complete, physical copy of these on amazon etc., and I hope that the Morals gain wider recognition. I have not yet read these philosophical essays yet myself, but I will absolutely put up with an electronic edition because the quality seems very evident to me. He has also greatly increased my desire to read Lucretius.)I really can't say much more other than Montaigne grew on me the more I read, and I greatly enjoyed getting to know him. Hopefully you do too._____________Concerning Translations:I read the Ives translation which was un-fig-leafed in a 3 volume edition (including a Handbook to the Essays which incorporated the notes by the translator, and a series of comments upon the Essays by Grace Norton) published by the Heritage Press. I can heartily recommend this edition; the handbook contains sources for every quotation as well as presenting them in their original language, and the comments by Miss. Norton are very incisive and entertaining.I am a romantic, and with this translation I really felt like Montaigne himself was talking to me. As the edition I was reading shows, this Ives translation is much better than the others that existed at the time: Florio’s (1603: look this up, it’s definitely not the first translation you should read in my opinion), Cotton-Hazlitt’s (1670-1892), Trechmanns (1927) & Zeitlin’s (1934). I cannot comment on Screech’s._____________My favourite essays:Book IXXVI - Of the Education of ChildrenBook IIX - Of BooksXII - Apology for Raimond SebondBook IIIIII - Of Three Sorts of IntercourseV - On Certain Verses of VirgilIX - Of VanityXIII - Of Experience

  • Dan
    2018-10-17 15:42

    Montaigne has been an excellent companion during my yard work and gardening chores this spring. The Audible book is based on the Frame translation - some people complain about it because Frame does not use Montaigne's original quotations (just the English translation) while Screech provides the original quotation, plus the English translation. For listening, Frame is great, and both editions are pretty similar to me, as I know no French, Greek, and just a few altar boy Latin words. (The Screech book is almost 400 pages longer due to these original and translated "borrowings").Montaigne quotes a lot - he is a Renaissance man well versed in Greek and Roman writers, and lived (just) before Shakespeare, and most science or "enlightenment." Famous for asking "What do I Know?" his vast reading, position in society (he advised French Kings) and his experience led him to conclude that he knew very little. The question he is really asking is "What do I know for certain?, what is really true. He concludes that he - and other men - know very little. (No matter who he quotes, he often quotes an equal contradictory view.) All he can know, if he works hard enough, and is disciplined, is to know himself. He is the world's foremost expert on Montaigne. Listening to all these essays, usually in 2 or three hour blocks, was a great experience, and the yard looks pretty good. Plenty of rain this year.

  • Holliday
    2018-11-12 21:46

    ESAME PASSATOADIEU MONTAIGNEA MAI PIÙ RIVEDERCI.Che liberazione :DDDDDD

  • Rosa Ramôa
    2018-10-29 21:46

    "Nada nos SatisfazSe ocasionalmente nos ocupássemos em nos examinar, e o tempo que gastamos para controlar os outros e para saber das coisas que estão fora de nós o empregássemos em nos sondar a nós mesmos, facilmente sentiríamos o quanto todo esse nosso composto é feito de peças frágeis e falhas. Acaso não é uma prova singular de imperfeição não conseguirmos assentar o nosso contentamento em coisa alguma, e que, mesmo por desejo e imaginação, esteja fora do nosso poder escolher o que nos é necessário? Disso dá bom testemunho a grande discussão que sempre houve entre os filósofos para descobrir qual é o soberano bem do homem, a qual ainda perdura e perdurará eternamente, sem solução e sem acordo: Enquanto nos escapa, o objecto do nosso desejo sempre nos parece preferível a qualquer outra coisa; vindo a desfrutá-lo, um outro desejo nasce em nós, e a nossa sede é sempre a mesma. (Lucrécio). Não importa o que venhamos a conhecer e desfrutar, sentimos que não nos satisfaz, e perseguimos cobiçoso as coisas por vir e desconhecidas, pois as presentes não nos saciam; em minha opinião, não que elas não tenham o bastante com que nos saciar, mas é que nos apoderamos delas com mão doentia e desregrada: Pois ele viu que os mortais têm à sua disposição praticamente tudo o que é necessário para a vida; viu homens cumulados de riqueza, honra e glória, orgulhosos da boa reputação de seus filhos; e entretanto não havia um único que, em seu foro íntimo, não se remoesse de angústia e cujo coração não se oprimisse com queixas dolorosas; compreendeu então que o defeito estava no próprio recipiente, e que esse defeito corrompia tudo de bom que fosse colocado de fora em seu interior (Lucrécio). O nosso apetite é indeciso e incerto: não sabe conservar coisa alguma, nem desfrutar nada da maneira certa. O homem, julgando que isso seja um defeito dessas coisas, acumula e alimenta-se de outras coisas que ele não sabe e não conhece, em que aplica os seus desejos e esperanças, honrando-as e reverenciando-as; como diz César: Por um vício comum da natureza, acontece termos mais confiança e também mais temor em relação às coisas que não vimos e que estão ocultas e desconhecidas". Verdade*

  • Ebru
    2018-11-13 16:52

    Yıllar öncesinde yazılan bir şey bugün hala nasıl geçerliliğini koruyabiliyor? Hayran kalıyorum böyle kitaplara. Kendinize iyilik yapmak istiyorsanız Denemler'i kesinlikle okuyun. Bu eseri yılda bir kere okumaya karar verdim. Her yıl kendi kişiliğimi, davranış ve düşüncelerimi toparlamam için bana çok iyi yol gösterici olacak. Eminim. Okuyun.* Bilgisizliği kavramak, bilimi kavramak için gerektiği kadar bilgi ister.* Bir amaca bağlanmayan ruh, yolunu kaybeder. Çünkü her yerde olmak, hiçbir yerde olmamaktır.

  • robert
    2018-10-19 21:48

    The only essay that I read in its entirety was the long final essay titled "Of Experience" which endeavors to tell us how to live, so that's what I'm addressing here. The translation I read was by Donald Frame because Harold Bloom recommended it. Harder to read than I would have liked, primarily because you feel like you have to keep starting over because Montaigne keeps changing his focus -- from sleep to food to ovens to laws to death to disease to . . . . I envy Michel the peace of mind he seems to have found. He seems a fully self-actualized human being. I fear I'm more like Ishmael and hope Michel's wrong when he says that "the fruit and goal of [such people's:] searching is to search." Michel likes meat that smells, only goes to the bathroom after dark, and confronts disease with true heroism (I'm glad that due to modern medicine I will likely never have to deal with the horrifying "stone!"). Michel refers to his soul as a she and to God as a he. (I believe the quote Derrida extracts from this essay to open the famous paper he delivered intentionally distorts the true meaning and context to serve his own purposes. So I guess Derrida is a bit like a movie publicist looking for blurbs!) At times I had to fight my way through this. Who cares if "[Michel:] could dine without a tablecloth; but very uncomfortably without a clean napkin"? Nonetheless, Montaigne is wise. I feel I have learned from him. Unlike the philosophies of many Sixties Scriptures -- which give vague directions and leave you frustrated/trudging towards mirages -- "Of Experience" is a concrete, practical program for living. You feel healthy after reading it.

  • Ronald
    2018-10-18 22:54

    1) Geen boek wat je "even" leest. De eerste en nog steeds de rijkste, persoonlijkste en beroemdste essaybundel van de wereldliteratuur. 1480 pagina's, en gelukkig als e-book. Ik ben er nu bijna een half jaar in bezig, af en toe een essay, en nu tot 38% gevorderd. Met een beetje geluk krijg ik het in 2016 uitgelezen. Vaak boeiend, soms wat stoffig (maar mag het met een boek uit 1580?) maar ook opvallend vaak nog actueel. Mijn e-book staat vol met geselecteerde uitspraken en aantekeningen. Wat een rijkdom om zo'n boek te mogen lezen.2) (op 49% van het boek) Het nadeel van zo'n boek met essays is dat je het ook heel gemakkelijk kan weg leggen. Een jaar lang of zo. Nu ik weer eens een ouderwets papierenboek lees heb ik De Essays ook maar weer eens opengeslagen. Want papier leest niet zo lekker in bed, en de e-reader wel. En doordat er hier geen sprake is van een verhaal is het geen probleem om hier af en toe wat in te lezen.3) (op 64% van het boek) Op het punt om aan het derde en laatste deel van het boek te beginnen, of Boek III zoals de Montaigne dat noemt. De Montaigne over het tot stand komen van zijn essay's, die niet veel verschilt van hoe ik dit boek lees:Zo komt hij met horten en stoten tot stand, want vaak wordt ik er maandenlang van afgehouden door zaken elders.

  • Michael
    2018-11-01 15:53

    If you've secretly believed that no person could consider himself educated until he had read Montaigne, among many others -- I am here to set you free. It's not that the inventor of the essay is that terrible; he's OK (though no Aldous Huxley -- those are essays worth reading). He covers a lot of ground, he skips about fearlessly even in one essay, and he has a great way of putting in quotes from his own reading, Juvenal, Ovid, Horace, Catullus, Virgil and Propertius. But he is not a first-class intellect. So his points, his musings, his associations -- they are OK, sometimes more interesting, sometimes less. I have only been able to skip around in this large supply of his writings. It has its moments, you'll pick up interesting points of history at times, and one man's outlook on life -- but it probably won't change the way you look at anything in your own life. It's just not something that grabs you -- except perhaps for details like how one of his workers buried himself alive with his own hands because he had, or thought he had, the Plague.

  • Margaret
    2018-10-27 19:45

    This is a book I am always reading and have been for years. I rarely read more than an essay at any given time, but what riches Montaigne offers. I'm currently rereading as I read Sarah Bakewell's How to Live: A Life of Montaigne.

  • Terragyrl3
    2018-10-21 17:54

    Reading this essay collection has been "a domestic and a private" goal....Montaigne is the originator of the modern essay; he is as foundational to nonfiction as Shakespeare is to drama.

  • Prooost Davis
    2018-10-21 20:47

    I've been burdening my Facebook friends with Montaigne quotes for several months now. Michel de Montaigne (1533 - 1592) was the inventor of the personal essay (in French, essai meaning "attempt"). He did not use the modifier "personal," but he did say that the only subject he felt qualified to write about was himself. With that stated restriction, Montaigne wrote about everything, and brilliantly.The complete essays run to over 800 pages, but I didn't regret a single page. For the most part, his seems to be a modern, even progressive, mind, preferring, for example, a gentle, playful method of educating the young, rather than a strict and punitive style. On the other hand, he didn't really believe that women could be educated. But, agree with him or not, Montaigne is a stimulating and agreeable companion. In the following paragraph, he sums up, coincidentally, why I read:"And every day I amuse myself reading authors without any care for their learning, looking for their style, not their subject. Just as I seek the company of some famous mind, not to have him teach me, but to come to know him."As Montaigne got older, and closer to death, his essays got longer and started to ramble. I value these late essays most of all, because he attempted to get all of the most important things into them.Benamin Franklin, in his autobiography, mentions that his own "life plan" included the emulation of Socrates, and Montaigne was of the same opinion. One thing Montaigne was at pains to convey was that the life of the body is as important as the life of the soul, and that, therefore, bodily pleasures should not be avoided, and do not corrupt the soul. The other, and the main thing, is that self-knowledge is the way to all knowledge.The "Essays" can be dipped into at random, if you don't want to read them all the way through. A good one to start with might be the very last one, "Of experience." It's a great summing up of a philosophy you could do worse than to live by.

  • Jake
    2018-11-12 15:41

    Montaigne was a 16th century French aristocrat whose father raised him speaking Latin as his native language so that he wouldn't struggle learning it like the other boys. With this book he invented essays and they are some good reading. Each essay tackles a random topic, but he often strays off subject into fun tangents. He stated that all he knows is himself so that is what he wrote about. But really he knew a whole lot about a whole lot. He writes about honor, love, horseback riding, kidney stones, Socrates, kings, erectile disfunction, religion and many other things. To paraphrase him, he reminds us that everyone poops and it all stinks, even though we all think our own smells like roses, and even when sitting on the highest throne we all are sitting on our arses.