Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently

Hardcover | April 30, 1999

bySteven Rendall

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Most modern critics (even those who have emphasized the `evolution' of Montaigne's ideas) have sought to explain away the contradictions and incoherences of Montaigne's Essais. Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently investigates the role of these internal differences in the opinionsrecorded, in voices and modes of discourse, in logical levels, in conceptions of writing and of reading, through a series of careful, lucid readings of selected passages from the Essais. The author tracks their operation in Montaigne's text and shows how Montaigne's writing constantlyrecontextualizes his own discourse (through his practice of interpolating new material in successive editions and adding new chapters) as well as that of other authors (through quotation, paraphrase, commentary). Rather than merely negative features, the author argues that such `differences' areessential to a practice of writing that both defines and challenges a notion of `unity', and can be seen as an uneasy and disturbing element related to a historical shift from earlier ways of controlling meaning, to one based on `the author function'.This careful and lucid book presents a fresh and significant interpretation of the Essais and shows how Montaigne's work might profitably and illuminatingly be read in a `different' way.

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From the Publisher

Most modern critics (even those who have emphasized the `evolution' of Montaigne's ideas) have sought to explain away the contradictions and incoherences of Montaigne's Essais. Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently investigates the role of these internal differences in the opinionsrecorded, in voices and modes of discourse, in log...

From the Jacket

Most modern critics have sought to explain away the contradictions and discontinuities in Montaigne's Essais. Steven Rendall maintains that such differences--in the opinions recorded, in voices and modes of discourse, in logical levels, in conceptions of writing and reading--are essential to Montaigne's practice of writing. In a series...

Steven Rendall is at University of Oregon.

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Format:HardcoverDimensions:148 pages, 8.5 × 5.43 × 0.67 inPublished:April 30, 1999Publisher:Oxford University Press

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0198151802

ISBN - 13:9780198151807

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`a welcome addition to his earlier work and to the corpus of Montaigne scholarship. Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differenty provides a significant and original contribution to Montaigne scholarship, not least for its insightful readings of some of this earlier work. Rendall has an excellentgrasp of the Essais, of scholarship on them, and of the subtle differences among seemingly similar critical points of view....fine contribution. The book may mark the end of one era of Montaigne scholarship and make way for another.'Modern Philology