Nathan's Reviews > The Complete Essays

The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne
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Jun 24, 11

Read in June, 2011

This is a challenging yet very rewarding book to read, if you can get through it. Writing in 16th Century France, with a horrendous civil war in the backdrop, Montaigne composed these Essays, the first of its type, after shutting himself up in his chateau. His main objective was to study himself and be as brutally honest as possible. To illustrate his points, Montaigne uses a plethora of quips and quotes from the ancients as well as many of his contemporaries. Herein lies the challenge. You really should know a little of the French civil war to understand what is driving many of his thoughts and to understand the context of his opinions. And you should have a basic understanding of some ancient literature - such as Plutarch, Seneca, Plato, Virgil - if you want to truly grasp the mindset underlying his thought. In my opinion, if you have those two prerequisites, you will learn a lot from this book. These essays, which frequently digress from the main and even sub- points, provide some of the most honest and wise writing this world has ever seen. This book is definitely worth the challenge.
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Quotes Nathan Liked

Michel de Montaigne
“Off I go, rummaging about in books for sayings which please me.”
Michel de Montaigne, The Complete Essays


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05/21/2011 page 32
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