The Essays: A Selection

Paperback | May 3, 1994

byMichel de MontaigneTranslated byM. A. ScreechIntroduction byM. A. Screech

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A survey of one of the giants of Renaissance thought, The Essays: A Selection collects some of Michel de Montaigne's most startling and original works, translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech in Penguin Classics. To overcome a crisis of melancholy after the death of his father, Montaigne withdrew to his country estates and began to write, and in the highly original essays that resulted he discussed themes such as fathers and children, conscience and cowardice, coaches and cannibals, and, above all, himself. On Some Lines of Virgil opens out into a frank discussion of sexuality and makes a revolutionary case for the equality of the sexes. In On Experience he superbly propounds his thoughts on the right way to live, while other essays touch on issues of an age struggling with religious and intellectual strife, with France torn apart by civil war. These diverse subjects are united by Montaigne's distinctive voice - that of a tolerant man, sceptical, humane, often humorous and utterly honest in his pursuit of the truth. M.A. Screech's distinguished translation fully retains the light-hearted and inquiring nature of the essays. In his introduction, he examines Montaigne's life and times, and the remarkable self-portrait that emerges from his works. Michel de Montaigne (1533-1586) studied law and spent a number of years working as a counsellor before devoting his life to reading, writing and reflection. If you enjoyed The Essays: A Selection, you might like Francis Bacon's The Essays, also available in Penguin Classics.

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From Our Editors

One of literature’s most fascinating personalities, Michel de Montaigne invites us into his mind with the most innovative, self-revealing autobiography ever written. As a sort of therapy for depression, Montaigne recorded his thoughts on fathers and children, conscience, cowardice, cannibals and many other startling themes. Honest,...

From the Publisher

A survey of one of the giants of Renaissance thought, The Essays: A Selection collects some of Michel de Montaigne's most startling and original works, translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech in Penguin Classics. To overcome a crisis of melancholy after the death of his father, Montaigne w...

From the Jacket

"Screech’s translation brilliantly captures the directness, energy, and pithiness of Montaigne’s writing."—The Christian Science Monitor.

Born in 1533, Montaigne studied law and spent a number of years working as a counsellor before devoting his life to reading, writing and reflection. He died in 1586. Dr M.A. Screech is regarded as the world's greatest authority on Montaigne.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:480 pages, 7.8 × 5.1 × 0.8 inPublished:May 3, 1994Publisher:Penguin Publishing Group

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0140446028

ISBN - 13:9780140446029

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Extra Content

Table of Contents

Introduction
Note on the Text
The Annotations
Note on the Translation
Explanation of the Symbols
THE ESSAYS: A SELECTIONTo the Reader
Book I
1. We reach the same end by discrepant means
8. On idleness
16. On punishing cowardice
18. On fear
20. To philosophize is to learn how to die
26. On educating children
27. That it is madness to judge the true and false from our own capacities
31. On the Cannibals
32. Judgements on God's ordinances must be embarked upon with prudence
39. On solitude
56. On prayer
57. On the length of life
Book II
1. On the inconstancy of our actions
2. On drunkenness
5. On conscience
8. On the affection of fathers for their children
11. On cruelty
32. In defence of Seneca and Plutarch
35. On three good wives
37. On the resemblance of children to their fathers
Book III
2. On repenting
3. On three kinds of social intercourse
5. On some lines of Virgil
6. On coaches
11. On the lame
13. On experience

Index
Summary of the Symbols

From Our Editors

One of literature’s most fascinating personalities, Michel de Montaigne invites us into his mind with the most innovative, self-revealing autobiography ever written. As a sort of therapy for depression, Montaigne recorded his thoughts on fathers and children, conscience, cowardice, cannibals and many other startling themes. Honest, humane, often humorous, The Essays: A Selection includes “On Some Lines of Virgil,” which features a candid and sweeping sexual exploration; and “On Experience” which expertly summarizes his final beliefs on the right way to live. Other chapters deal with public issues in his age of religious and intellectual discord.