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Michel de Montaigne: Selected Essays

4.05  ·  Rating Details ·  1,578 Ratings  ·  90 Reviews
One of France's great Renaissance thinkers, Michel de Montaigne (1533–92) invented the essay as a literary form. This compilation features the best of his brief, highly readable reflections on poetry, philosophy, theology, law, literature, education, and world exploration.
Remarkably modern in their views, the essays continue to resonate with readers as their author bemoans
Paperback, 224 pages
Published January 17th 2012 by Dover Publications (first published March 1580)
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Mar 31, 2016 KamRun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
فساد قرن با همکاری فرد فرد ما پدید می آید: کسانی با خیانت و کسانی با بی عدالتی یا بی دینی یا ستمگری یا حرص و آز و یا درنده خویی، هرکس بر حسب توان خود. ضعیف ترین کسان با حماقت و بطالت و بیکارگی. و من در زمره ی اینانم. میشل دو مونتنی

نخستین بار نام مونتنی در کتاب مکتب های ادبی رضا سیدحسینی به چشمم خورد. مقاله ای از مونتنی در انتهای فصل باروک برای روشن کردن فضای فکری رایج آن دوره. مقاله ارتباط مستقیمی با موضوع فصل نداشت و اطلاعات جدیدی نیز ارائه نمی کرد، با این حال بخاطر شیوه ی استدلال و اندیشه ی نا
Paulo Hora
May 09, 2016 Paulo Hora rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Um dos melhores livros que já li.

Não sei como é possível alguém em 1580 colocar por escrito pensamentos tão profundos e clarividentes. Nem sabia que já havia tinta em 1580.

Trata-se de uma auto-análise de um espírito iluminado - com uma eloquência que nunca tinha encontrado. Essa auto-análise de Montaigne serve como reflexão profunda do ser humano: dos seus hábitos, dos seus sentimentos, das suas intenções. E faz tanto sentido na altura como agora.

Saramago, quando elencava os seus escritores favo
May 01, 2015 Zelda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
So now, on this journey of self-education, we arrive at Montaigne, the instrospective French essayist who was both devout papist and syphilitic whore-master. This is exactly the type of internal conflict that I like in a philosopher and avoid in, say, a husband or a physician or what have you.

Of all the reading I've done in the past two years, Montaigne has taken up the most space in my copybook. I wrote down things he said that supported my biases and I wrote down things that challenged them.
Foad Ansari
Mar 31, 2017 Foad Ansari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
مفصل در باره اش نوشته ام در بلاگم
کتاب ارزش چند بار خواندن را دارد با توجه به عملگرا بودن مونتنی و آشنایی کاملش با فلسفه روم و یونان و حکمت شرقی تمام حرفهایش جا افتاده و ناشی از یک ذهن منظم است.
Alas, Real Life has intruded, and I had to cut short my acquaintance with M. Montaigne. I had mixed feelings about this, much like you have mixed feelings about a friend coming to save you from a fascinating person you've just met at a party- one with rather a high opinion of himself that he isn't shy of airing, but one that might possibly be well-justified. In a conversation with this person, you might find yourself bereft of something to say to him after the fifth or sixth time his cliche-fill ...more
Amir Karimnejad
Jan 23, 2014 Amir Karimnejad rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
طبق آنچه که رضا سید حسینی در کتاب مکتب های ادبی دسته بندی می کند میشل دو مونتنی در قسمت باروک جا می گیرد و تمام پیچ و تاب و شکاکیتش هم از همین حکایت می کند. البته مونتنی نویسنده ای نیست که بتوان او را در همین کلام خلاطه کرد. همانطور که ژرف بینی مونتنی توانست گوستاو فلوبر را حیرت زده کندو او (گوستاو فلوبر) آنگونه که در نامه هایش از وی یاد می کند او را مردی فاضل و نکته سنج معرفی می کند که باید آموزه هایش را با هوش و حواسی سرشار و متمرکز خواند ، می تواند خواننده های امروز را نیز متحیر کند و از انسا ...more
Mar 15, 2017 Els rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: renacimiento
Este autor que es de los pocos que leí del Renacimiento tiene un apartado donde habla del miedo, presentando ejemplos y consecuencias del mismo.

Pedro Freitas
Aug 04, 2013 Pedro Freitas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Primeira, superficial e talvez até mesquinha avaliação da obra: Estamos perante auto-ajuda do século XVI. Calma conhecedores literários do senhor Montaigne, estou consciente da blasfémia que aqui disse! Até porque estamos perante um conjunto de ensaios bem melhor embrulhados que qualquer livro peseudo místico/iluminador exposto numa qualquer prateleira de supermercado. Aqui há ética e verdadeiro conhecimento. No fundo Montaigne não é um doutrinador, nem criou uma corrente filosófica qualquer, di ...more
Quentin Crisp
Jun 28, 2015 Quentin Crisp rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

The four essays in this selection are: 'On the Cannibals', 'On Smells', 'On the Art of Conversation' and 'On Thumbs'.

Stercus cuique suum bene olet.

What does this mean? For those, like myself, not conversant with Latin, a translation is given in the book. The reader might be surprised to find it familiar.

Everyone's shit smells good to himself.

The footnotes explain that the source is Erasmus and that Erasmus links the saying to Aristotle.

If you want to get a taste of how far back such f
Feb 07, 2009 Rhonda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I first read The Essays in high school and was astounded that, amidst all the really terrible literature that I had to read, these essays came through like a breath of fresh air. Admittedly, this wasn't required reading, but it was a fortuitous meeting for my relatively unstructured yet passionate psyche.
What I admired more about Montaigne more than anything was his restraint and dedication to creating a format: each of the essays was constructed with such beauty and grace that each lacked a sen
Nov 18, 2014 Cristina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: francesa, ensayo
“Cobardía: madre de la crueldad.”
―Michel de Montaigne
Sep 12, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
It is an absolute perfection and virtually divine to know how to enjoy our being lawfully. We seek other conditions because we do not understand the use of our own, and go outside of ourselves because we do not know what it is like inside. Yet there is no use our mounting on stilts, for on stilts we must still walk on our legs. And on the loftiest throne in the world we are still sitting only on our own rear.

“It seemed to me as if I had written the book in some former life, so sincerely it spoke
Jan 12, 2014 Robert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The French nobleman Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) was one of the originators of the modern discursive essay, a walk through and around a subject as if it were a garden or an interesting property or house. He is a hinge figure, in some senses, between the classical era (still a great influence on the educated classes of Europe) and the subsequent ventures into the Age of Reason and Romanticism.

Montaigne isn't a writer to be read front to back. He's to be read a little bit at a time. His chief s
David Sarkies
Jul 22, 2011 David Sarkies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like philosophy
Recommended to David by: It was in the Bible college library
Shelves: philosophy
A collection of humanist essays
19 September 2010

It took me a while to actually get into this book, but now I have completed it I must say that I am quite glad that I read it. The version that I read was only a collection of his essays, so today I made my way to the second hand bookshop and pick up a copy of his complete essays (which I plan on reading a bit at a time).

Montaigne was a French noble living about the time of Shakespeare (actually a little before) and these essays are more a colle
Mar 26, 2009 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There are so many kernels of truth in Montaigne's writing that I won't even bother making a list of quotes - but I will say that it's hard to tell that his essays were written in the 16th century. They're an exploration of his true character and I think it's safe to say that not much has changed about the human experience or psyche in 500 years. Montaigne seems so modern (and often so humorous and frank) because he holds nothing back from himself or his readers and that's refreshing to read - to ...more
Jan 10, 2012 Laura rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Bettie
From BBC Radio 3:

In 1588, the essayist and landowner Michel de Montaigne, set out on a journey round the troubled kingdom of France. He was on a mission - to reconcile the Valois King Henri the Third, a Catholic, with his likely successor, the Bourbon King of Navarre, a Protestant. It's high stakes: intensified Civil War the consequence of failure.

It's a Kindle freebie at Amazon either in English or in French. Thanks Misfit for the tip on Dumas books, I found almost one hundred more books in Fre
Aug 08, 2015 Kichi rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This one is a sui generis. Michel de Montaigne has an enigmatic simplicity to him, often witty and sharp but sometimes embarrassingly contradictory. He's well-educated on certain subjects but a complete ignoramus on others. At times he'll lead you to believe that he's a hard-line conservative but will drop outrageously liberal ideas (for his time) here and there. On one end he'll talk about the most profound and fascinating of topics, and then out of nowhere will digress towards the absolutely d ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Lenny rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Lovely essays. Enjoyed the diversity. Would like to read more of his works.
"I wish everyone would write only about what he knows"
"The man who smells nice in fact stinks"
"I may serve in turn as a model to avoid"
"Condemn yourself and you are always believed: praise yourself and you never are"
"The wise have more to learn from the fools than the fools from the wise" erasmus
"While you kept silent you apeared to be a great somebody" erasmus
I like his ideas on luck.
Being surrounded with good or bad inf
Richard Newton
A great rambling journey of introspection, but like the best of introspective writing the lessons, ideas and topics Montaigne travels through have universal appeal. Here is a man who in one section can read like a modern liberal, and in another very much a man of his time. It is my second reading of this translation, and as so many times with translations I regret my feeble language skills and wonder how much better it might have been in French. A worthy book to dip into time and again.
Atakan Alpakıncı
Müthiş bir zeka ve çoğu konu üzerinde farklı bakış açıları arayanlar için güzel bir kitap. Klasik niteliğinde zaten. Yazıldığı dönemin de özelliklerini baz alırsak savaş ile ilgili konular üzerinde çok durması dikkatimi çekti. Okuyan çok şey kazanır.
Jun 16, 2016 Ethan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I fell asleep while writing this review. So boring...

more on the blog...

Jul 21, 2016 Whit rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"To learn that we have said or done a foolish thing, that is nothing; we must learn that we are nothing but fools, a far broader and more important lesson."
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 20, 2016 Ricardo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ao entrar na segunda metade da sua vida, Montaigne passou a dedicar grande parte do seu tempo a descobrir-se a si mesmo. Esta antologia da muito mais vasta obra dos Ensaios, após uma extensa introdução por Rui Romão, que enquadra os Ensaios no panorama político das guerras religiosas em França durante a segunda metade do século XVI, apresenta os pensamentos de Montaigne, aprofundados através da leitura de muitos clássicos gregos e latinos, sobre a amizade, livros, liberdade de consciência, vaida ...more
Jan 21, 2017 Narin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ölüme yaklaştığını hisseden Montaigne, hayat deneyimlerini, yaşamında biriktirdiği düşüncelerini bırakmak istemiş geride kalanlara. "Beni ne eksik ne fazla, olduğum gibi tanıyın" diyor. Benim elimdeki kitap Sabahattin Eyuboğlu tarafından çevirilmiş, 1989 yılında basılmış. Montaigne'in düşünceleri bu güzel çeviriyle birleşince daha da mükemmelleşiyor her şey. Not alınarak, sindire sindire okunulması gereken, insanı yeni düşüncelere sevk edecek bir kitap. Her ne kadar Montaigne okuyucuya olan notu ...more
This selection is an inspiration to read the complete works. An example of how relevant Montaigne's thoughts are is in "On the Lame" and our current struggle with alternative facts.
Feb 26, 2017 Patyta rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nos dice Montaigne que lo que escribe es sólo un divertimento, algo con lo cual pasar las horas al final de su vida, una forma de ordenar sus ideas y darse a conocer mejor a sus familiares y amigos, y sí, eso es justo lo que sus Ensayos son, ni más ni menos, cuajados de muy entretenidas anécdotas, agudas observaciones sobre las personas, sobre todo de él mismo, pero también es engañosamente machacón, sermonea de pronto sin siquiera darse cuenta, y, honestamente, a mí a estas alturas de mi vida y ...more
This is not the exact book I read. Mine was Michel de Montaigne: Selected Essays translated, and with introduction and notes by Donald M. Frame, published for the Classic Club by Walter J. Black, Inc., Roslyn, N.Y.

Montaine is not a person I would enjoy befriending. He proudly states on several occassions his contempt for science; he prefers the ancient Greek and Roman writers to anything more recent. He tells us he is lazy, unattractive, and uninformed about even the most casual explanations of
In this collection of essays, Montaigne established the essay form in the modern way that we still recognize today. From this collection I would like to focus on one of the most famous essays; namely, "To philosophize is to learn how to die". Montaigne begins by referencing Cicero (who himself was paraphrasing Socrates as he was presented by Plato in his dialogue, Phaedo). He quickly concludes that the purpose of philosophy "is to teach not to be afraid of dying." (p 17) This, however, he immedi ...more
I have to say that Monsieur Montaigne doesn't do a whole lot for me. It may be the translation, but he comes across as rather pompous, full of himself, and long-winded. I think the most irritating thing is that he spends one whole essay ("Of the Education of Children") telling us how tutors/teachers shouldn't just teach children to regurgitate facts or spout the learned words of the great men who come before them, but should be taught to reason and understand what the great men's words meant and ...more
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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
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“The most fruitful and natural exercise for our minds is, in my opinion, conversation.” 80 likes
“We trouble our life by thoughts about death, and our death by thoughts about life.” 42 likes
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