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Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an…

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"It is not enough to have a good mind; it is more important to use it well" René Descartes was a central figure in the scientific revolution of the seventeenth century. In his Discourse on Method he outlined the contrast between mathematics and…

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"Surely his most interesting, plausibly his most memorable, and . . . arguably his best book" — The New York Times Book Review For John Steinbeck, who hated the telephone, letter-writing was a preparation for work and a natural way for him to communicate his…

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Composed during a critical time in the evolution of European intellectual life, the works of Meister Eckhart (c. 1260-1327) are some of the most powerful medieval attempts to achieve a synthesis between ancient Greek thought and the Christian faith. Writing with…

Dialogues And Letters

by C Seneca

|November 1, 1997

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Included in this volume are the dialogues On the Shortness of Life and On Tranquility of Mind , which are eloquent classic statements of Stoic ideals of fortitude and self-reliance. This selection also features extracts from Natural Questions , Seneca's…

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Reflections by the creator of the essay form display the humane, skeptical, humorous, and honest views of Montaigne, revealing his thoughts on sexuality, religion, cannibals, intellectuals, and other unexpected themes. Included are such celebrated works as "On…

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The Age of Enlightenment of the 18th century, also called the Age of Reason, was so named for an intellectual movement that shook the foundations of Western civilization. In championing radical ideas such as individual liberty and an empirical appraisal of the…

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Providing a series of fascinating views of Imperial Rome, The Letters of the Younger Pliny also offer one of the fullest self-portraits to survive from classical times. Pliny's lively and very personal letters address an astonishing range of topics, from a…

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Tolstoy's passionate and iconoclastic writings--on issues of faith, immortality, freedom, violence, and morality--reflect his intellectual search for truth and a religion firmly grounded in reality. The selection includes 'A Confession,' 'Religion and…

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A selection of Mozart's letters, translated into English, complete with notes, linking commentary and chronology.

The Essays

by Francis Bacon

|January 7, 1986

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The genius of Francis Bacon is nowhere better revealed than in his essays. Bacon’s education was grounded in the classical texts of ancient Greece and Rome, but he brought vividness and colour to the arid scholasticism of medieval book-learning. Whatever…

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The works collected in this volume provide an illuminating introduction to George Eliot's incisive views on religion, art and science, and the nature and purpose of fiction. Essays such as 'Evangelical Teaching' show her rejecting her earlier religious…