Essais 3
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Essais 3

4.22 of 5 stars 4.22  ·  rating details  ·  6,641 ratings  ·  240 reviews
In his Essays Montaigne warns us from the outset that he has set himself 'no goal but a domestic and private one' yet he is one author whose modernity and universality have been acclaimed by each age since he wrote. Probing into his emotions, attitudes, and behavior, Montaigne reveals to us much about ourselves.
Mass Market Paperback, 501 pages
Published by Gallimard (first published 1572)
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Julia
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...more
Szplug
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...more
Jessica
Tonight, all across America, tens of thousands of teenagers - perhaps hundreds of thousands - sit in front of laptops, writing essays. It is the most dreaded homework assignment for many of them, and if they go on to college, it will be the assignment most cited as making them lose sleep, their printer to break, their grandmother to die, their car to break down, etc. etc.

Tonight, all across America, tens of thousands of teachers and professors count and recount the remaining essays in their grad...more
Jeff
so easy to read again and again. if you let him, montaigne will be your buddy for life. this is the great-great-great grandfather of the best blog on life you've read.
Jim Coughenour
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...more
sckenda
This man calms me. Montaigne has been my faithful companion through the joys, pains, indignities and absurdities of life. His Essays sit on my altar shelf, near my bed, where I commune with this 16C man of cheerful skepticism, who is so similar in temperament to me. With Emerson, I proclaim that it seems as if I myself had written the book, so sincerely does it speak to my thought and experience. Thus, I will reread Montaigne, inexhaustible as Shakespeare, as long as I live.

Montaigne was a man o...more
Cheryl
Simply my favorite 16th Century sage. Read the essays of Michel de Montaigne from front to back, or leave the book on your nightstand to dip into for revelations about being human. Over a 20 year period of writing THE COMPLETE ESSAYS, Montaigne altered some of his beliefs after reflection and life experience. Possibly the greatest model he could leave readers, and the trait I most admire about him.
Megan
Humility is a good quality. Montaigne could have used a little bit of it.
robert
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 se...more
David
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...more
Gill
I can't review this book. It is far too important to me and has affected my life in too many ways over too many years. I keep a journal and in many ways I look to Montaigne as a model of what to write about and how to live my life.

There are far more classics than anyone can read. Every culture has them and every attempt to list the most important ones to read is flawed and inappropriate for many readers.

All I can say is that I recommend this one to anyone who believes that Socrates was right th...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Ce n’est pas l’effort qui prime en compagnie de Montaigne. Il s’agit plutôt d’une détente agréable où l’on apprend de ses expériences pour s’en plaindre et surtout pour s’en moquer, dans l’optique que le « grand et glorieux chef-d’œuvre, c’est de vivre à propos. » (III, XIII, 320)
Le lire, c’est entrer dans un monde où un titre de chapitre est moins un endroit où l’on reste enfermé qu’un point de départ d’où l’on va et vient, selon le fil de la pensée, sans se soucier de l’élégance ou d’exigence...more
Bob
His enjoyment of Tacitus' Annals exactly captures my response to these essays:
"...there are more precepts than stories. It is not a book to read, it is a book to study and learn. It is so full of maxims that you find every sort, both right and wrong. It is a nursery of ethical and political reflections for the provision and adornment of those who hold a place in the management of the world. He always pleads, with solid and vigorous arguments, in a pointed and subtle fashion...lHis service is mo...more
Prooost Davis
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...more
Janet
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-hel...more
Erik Moore
Sep 17, 2013 Erik Moore is currently reading it  ·  review of another edition
Michele de Montaigne was a pleasant surprise as I dove into his first essay "That Men by Various Ways Arrive at the Same End." In it he reviewed many human behaviors clarifying how humans, particularly our imaginations,are subject to suggestion. This lead him to cases of "playing at magic", rituals, and talismans that works even though it is trickery of the mind. Then he reviewed how when imagination gets out of hand it can lead to death, or how visualization can improve ones behavior and situat...more
Juan Manuel  Charry Urueña
El aire del renacimiento. Hoy somos hombres extraviados sin Dios ni más futuro que el progreso técnico y económico. Algunas de las cosas que dice el libro: Estamos todos hechos de retazos. Sólo ha inventado una entrada para la vida y más de cien mil salidas. La muerte más voluntaria es la más bella. Porque amamos somos. Las mujeres siempre son proclives a disentir de sus maridos. En los libros solo busco deleitarme ... instruirme para bien morir y bien vivir. No hay animal en el mundo más traido...more
Michael
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...more
Tim Burrington
This is one of my favorite books of all time. Period. I would gladly buy this book for friends whom I think would find it interesting. I have reread some of the essays within it more times than I can remember. Each and every time they are a joy to read. "Of the art of discussion" is one that I would call particular attention to.

For those who are unaware, Montaigne was the fist person to popularize the essay as a form of writing. What he writes is rambling but fun to read. Though he does write ab...more
Scott Gates
I don’t know if anyone else writing in the 16th century was as candid and self-involved and Montaigne was. Is there anyone else in the 1500s who would say that he’d rather have intercourse with the Muses (and produce literature) than have intercourse with his wife (and produce children). Or, “I centre my affection almost entirely on myself, bestowing only very little on others.... The world always looks outward, I turn my gaze inward.”

I think that this intense interest in the self was a relative...more
Alexis
I really really liked this book. And I couldn't possibly have liked it more than five years ago because it's so freaking introspective so that's interesting to me.
The attitude towards women is ridiculous. I'm amazed at the number of "serious thinkers" who wrote about the importance of education as well as the inferiority of women without noticing, you know, that women didn't get an education. I know just because two points are held in a person's head doesn't mean there's an argument-path between...more
Pierre E. Loignon
Ce n’est pas l’effort qui prime en compagnie de Montaigne. Il s’agit plutôt d’une détente agréable où l’on apprend de ses expériences parfois pour s’en plaindre et surtout pour s’en moquer, dans l’optique que le « grand et glorieux chef-d’œuvre, c’est de vivre à propos. » (III, XIII, 320)
Le lire, c’est entrer dans un monde où un titre de chapitre est moins un endroit où l’on reste enfermé qu’un point de départ d’où l’on va et vient, selon le fil de la pensée, sans se soucier de l’élégance ou d’...more
Gregory
Although i just started this book, I am amazed,,, especialy the section, "An Apology for Raymond Sobund" a very amazing view of thoughts we share in time, in ancient times and how we try to organize our understanding of living. Really trying to read this from an orgainized viewpoint and structure.


This is an excellent book about us: today, yesterday and in the future, how - is the way M Montaigne expresses some of the great good we all possess contain, and how the not so-good can confuse our abil...more
Jim
So I haven't read all of this, but many of the essays by this 16th century French nobleman are insightful, beautiful, baffling, hilarious and incredibly candid. Particularly good are "On the imagination," where Montaigne discusses methods for combating erectile dysfunction and "On the cannibals" where he takes a surprisingly progressive, even radical stance on non-European peoples. The translation is very readable and many of the essays are very short (2-5 pgs) making this a good volume to brows...more
Florencia
Jun 06, 2014 Florencia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: philosophyland
Gah. 1344 pages.
Daniel Toker
Again, I'm not sure I'm "allowed" to rate or review this book, as I only read excerpts, but I liked what I read.

Montaigne's was a penetratingly modern mind. This is one of those timeless books, with thoughts and observations that can apply to any age.

I particularly liked the last essay, "On Experience." The final point: we are human, we are limited, and that's perfectly fine. That's a very profound ending for such a long book by such a brilliant thinker.
Douglas Dalrymple
I keep a portrait of Montaigne on my wall next to Shakespeare, Cervantes, Dostoyevsky and Melville. If there's any complaint in that arrangement it's that the latter four were concerned with explicitly creative forms, drama and the novel. Montaigne was more a philosopher. And yet he becomes in his essays a fully realized character in his own right. As one might say of Robert Burton and his 'Anatomy' - the book has become the man, and the man the book.
Aradia
Montaigne is my favorite philosopher, he has a wonderful sense of humor and easy way of writing-- it feels like I am having a conversation with a friend. Many of his observations are based on biological functions, for example falling asleep, which is universally experienced (allowing for individual's differences) thereby Montaigne's essays have a timeless quality. If you have never read philosophy before, I strongly recommend this as a start.
Lance
Wonderful confluence of philosophy written in the 16th century and illustrations by Salvidor Dali, one of the great artists of the 20th century. Thou hast here an honest book. Montaigne insights directly influenced the roots of a European renaissance and you can hear his voice echo on in philosophers and great minds who are icons today, Nietzsche, Voltaire and Shakespeare to name but a few.

Matt
For Montaigne, the originator of the genre of the essay, no topic was off limits - from passing kidney stones to the meaning of life. Unsurprisingly, it was by turns brilliant and dull. There were a couple times I felt like I was reading the same thing over and over again, but then I'd hit an incredibly insightful patch that made me want to keep reading.
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  • Maxims
  • The Essays
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
  • Pensées
  • Praise of Folly
  • Gargantua and Pantagruel
  • Essays and Aphorisms
  • The Discourses
  • Confessions (World's Classics)
  • The Way Things Are: The De Rerum Natura
  • The Enneads
  • Letters on England
  • بوستان سعدی
  • The Recognition of 'Sakuntala: A Play in Seven Acts
  • Essays and Lectures
  • The Essential Epicurus (Great Books in Philosophy)
  • Ptolemy's Almagest
  • Plutarch's Lives, Volume 2
17241
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. Montaigne is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography — and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts") contains, to this day, some of the most wide...more
More about Michel de Montaigne...
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