Essays are a work by Michel de Montaigne published from 1580 to 1588. It is the work of a fifty year old man , returning from a long trip over Europe (read the great book of the world) and, anxious to check if he lived well, engages in a kind of self-analysis: self-analysis conducted at random, not to “prove” but for “the pleasure of understanding”, and which gradually reveals the contradictions of his own nature.
What added soon feel equally profound contradictions of moral precepts that have been taught by his teachers or his reading, the customs of every country he visited. It concludes with skepticism, expressed in his famous motto: What do I know?
Far from leading to a mistrust of men, this attitude of doubt leads to a universal good will and a way of life based on understanding of our weaknesses.
What conclusions should be draw from these essays ? Montaigne learned to paint himself, and through him, the human condition.
Related articles On Montaigne’s Essays
- Montaigne’s Case For Ignorance (nybooks.com)
- Montaigne and the acceptance of uncertainty (richardgwyn.wordpress.com)
- A Voice for All Seasons: Carl Klaus and The Made-up Self (brevity.wordpress.com)
- Why I Write (forbes.com)
- Thoughts, Quotes and Visual Mysteries (randomyriad.wordpress.com)
- How to Live: or, a Life of Montaigne by Sarah Bakewell (bhplnjbookgroup.blogspot.com)