Montaigne books essay
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Michel de Montaigne might have been the original essayist. George Orwell before George Orwell. Montaigne was well-read, smart, critical, and possesed a tendency to write in a personal tone —with references to and reflections on—his own thoughts and his own life. A century after the delivery of the printing press to the West, the Wars of Religion coincided with two historical periods that we now consider monumental — the Renaissance and the Reformation. Such were the times molding a young Montaigne. The son of a wealthy businessman, Montaigne was born on a chateau near Bordeaux rough life although his father did his best to keep him grounded — he forced Michel to spend some of his early years living with peasants in a cottage.
Essays by Michel de Montaigne (Book Analysis)
Guide to the classics: Michel de Montaigne's Essays
He had his books for company, his Muses for inspiration, his past for seasoning, and, to support it all, the income from a large estate, not to mention a fortune built on the salt-herring and wine trades, which, in the last century, had turned his family into landed gentry. His full name, as most oenophiles can tell you, was Michel Eyquem de Montaigne. When he died, at fifty-nine, he was still revising and, apparently, not at all surprised, since Myself was a protean creature, impossible to anticipate but also, being always at hand, impossible to ignore. I like to think of the essays as a kind of thriller, with Myself, the elusive prey, and Montaigne, the sleuth, locked in a battle of equals who were too close for dissimulation and too smart for satisfaction.
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His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes  and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written. During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author.
We must not rivet ourselves so fast to our humours and complexions: our chiefest sufficiency is to know how to apply ourselves to divers employments. Of this here is an honourable testimony of the elder Cato: "Huic versatile ingenium sic pariter ad omnia fuit, ut natum ad id unum diceres, quodcumque ageret. I say this now in this part of my life, wherein I find I cannot easily disengage myself from the importunity of my soul, which cannot ordinarily amuse itself but in things of limited range, nor employ itself otherwise than entirely and with all its force; upon the lightest subject offered it expands and stretches it to that degree as therein to employ its utmost power; wherefore it is that idleness is to me a very painful labour, and very prejudicial to my health. Most men's minds require foreign matter to exercise and enliven them; mine has rather need of it to sit still and repose itself, "Vitia otii negotio discutienda sunt," ["The vices of sloth are to be shaken off by business.
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