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On Friendship

3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  276 ratings  ·  24 reviews
Expresses the author's views on relationships. This title contemplates the idea that man is no different from any animal, argues that all cultures should be respected, and helps us to understand the nature of humanity.
Paperback, 115 pages
Published September 2nd 2004 by Penguin Books, Limited (UK) (first published 1580)
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Peter Weissman
Jun 08, 2009 Peter Weissman rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone who likes discursive essays
If he had a more manageable name, there should be an equivalent to "Shakespearean" for Michel de Montaigne, and the label to refer to essayists of his level. As with Shakespearean, you have to pay attention lest the dense, meaningful sentences fly past. And frankly, there are times, and moods, when he's too dense for me to appreciate, or I'm too dense and have to put him aside.

Like another wonderful essayist, William Hazlitt, Montaigne often takes a circuitous path, following the associations of
This little volume contains On Friendship and five or six other essays by de Montaigne. The initial paragraph drew me in.
I was watching an artist on my staff working on a painting when I felt a desire to emulate him. The finest place in the middle of the wall he selects for a picture to be executed to the best of his ability; then he fills up the empty spaces all round it with grotesques, which are fantastical paintings whose attractiveness consists merely in variety and novelty. And in truth wh
These essays show a shallow, self-absorbed aristocrat with time on his hands to remark upon things in which he has no great insight or understanding. Unpleasant and uninstructive reading.
I couldn't help saying "What a misogynist!" out loud while I was reading this book. I seriously didn't know Montaigne had such stone-age views on women.
Sure, there were some great observations and concepts most of which were really spot on, but I couldn't really enjoy them because of all the lady-hating bits. It was as if he couldn't control himself at every 2nd or 3rd page and blurted out offensive nuggets of some so-called wisdom.
I know I know, "At that time, these were the common ideas of eve
Charlotte Dann
Misogyny! But also contemporary, relatable wisdom. Video review.
Nazim B.
The "Great Ideas" series from Penguin Books has become my 'before-bed' books. This book is one of them.
I knew nothing of Michel de Montaigne other than his name. After reading this little gem, I can say I enjoyed his simple, down-to-earth philosophy. Although the title suggests a treatis on friendship (which is very well stated), there is also material on being a father and on moderation. Surprisingly, very little seems dated and one can live with what he suggest as good advice. He backs up his claims with endless Greek and Latin scholars (Plato to Seneca) and even mentions the recent, bloody end ...more
Greg Linster
"On Friendship" is one of my favorite essays written by Michel de Montaigne.
Jan 18, 2011 Emily added it
Shelves: read-in-2011
It's fitting that the folks at Penguin chose the theme of friendship for their mini-collection of Montaigne essays (the fifth in their Great Ideas series), because at this point, after spending an academic year writing about the French essayist in a tight-knit group of collegiate buddies, and revisiting him with my blogging pals as part of my Essay Mondays project last year, I do indeed feel as if the man were an old friend of mine—warm and witty, occasionally exasperating but always a fascinati ...more
Liz Polding
Interesting, but the fairly relentless misogyny got up my nose rather and clouded my judgement. Of its time in that regard, I suppose and there were some enlightened moments, such as the unusual (for the time) stance against the corporal punishment of children.
I bought this paperback last year at a Kinokuniya's Sales Promotion in Bangkok, I guessed no one paid no attention to it or few readers read Montaigne nowadays. This Penguin book's in the Great Ideas series, thus, there're 7 essays selected from his "The Complete Essays" translated by M.A. Screech whose translation, I think, is more enjoyable to read than the Frame one.

I'd like to call these essays as a series of the great books since the year, 1580, on its cover should denote something to their
Matt Ryall
De Montaigne weaves wise quotes from the ancients together with anecdotes from his time (late 16th century France) to advise us on how to view friendship, relationships between family members and the pursuit of learning. This book gives a huge number of launching points off into other literature through its hundreds of references.

I found the shorter essays at the end of this collection much more enjoyable than the first eponymous one, On Friendship. I'd suggest skipping ahead to some of those if
Dec 28, 2014 Adam added it
Don't send men to the isle of Lesbos for punishment.
Jeremiah Cook
I found the Screech translation superior to the Cohen translation in clearness and readability.
This book, like all the Penguin Great Ideas books, is almost tiny enough to fit in your pocket- a big plus. The whole thing wasn't about friendship- it was just a bunch of essays about a variety of day-to-day topics, mostly about how to live. It was a little stodgy and, this guy doesn't seem too fond of women, but it held my interest. I did love the way he wrote about friendship with such a romantic tone: "We were seeking each other before we set eyes on each other"- that's the way I feel about ...more
I was so excited to read this book, then I read it and hated it. "Sexist pig" is the thought still running through my head. BUT! In trying to be objective--and forget the pointedly unkind thoughts on women as friends--I appreciated his thoughts. Who were all the women he met?! They all must have been horrible to make him form such an awful opinion of women as friends! Ugh!
Nia Nymue
Montaigne's tone was very amusing - he is so egocentric. Perhaps I was only amused because I read with this in mind. He has some interesting things to say - like the other books in the Great Ideas series, it's not meant to be read at one go - or at least, I think it shouldn't be read in that way. It ought to be read in small doses, for you to digest and critically analyse.
David Williamson
Not one of his most interesting essays, but due to my earlier rants on Plato's idea of friendship, love and desire, it was in fact totally necessary. Bad Plato! Naughty Plato!

Montaigne seems to have brought some sesne to the subject.
Daniel Wright
If I'm honest, I wasn't prepared to like Montaigne before I started, and this little book did nothing to overturn my prejudice. He is so unspeakably smug he makes Richard Dawkins look like a wilting violet.
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Jul 24, 2008 Andy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2007
An interesting and diverse colection of essays. Beautiful edition and cover from Penguin.
If you read only one Montaigne essay I think this might be the one.
Zâhô Brùnêêtte
Mar 31, 2013 Zâhô Brùnêêtte marked it as to-read
can i be a deferent personn
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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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