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April-day, a burletta, in three acts. Written by the author of Midas. Together with the author 's voyage from Amapalla. By William Funnell. Funnell, William.

Location. Main Author. Title. Imprint. 034.BAY.RYLE. Bayle, Pierre, 1647-1706. An historical and critical dictionary. selected and abridged from the great work of Peter Bayle, with a life of. Iamblichi Chalcidensis ex Syria cœle De vita Pythagoræ,

21. Foucault, Michel. 1926- 1984, author. The history of sexuality / 1990 21. Wiggins, Martin, author. British drama, 1533 -1642. a catalogue / 2012 20.

Related resource: Alternative names: Michel vander Malen. Titles or roles: abbé de Ninove. Related Resources: Alternative names: Jean de Marsigny. Titles or roles: French chemist; author of 'L'idée de la chiminie pratique' (Paris, 1670) and

Location. Main Author. Title. Imprint. 034.BAY.RYLE. Bayle, Pierre, 1647-1706. An historical and critical dictionary. selected and abridged from the great work of Peter Bayle, with a life of. Iamblichi Chalcidensis ex Syria cœle De vita Pythagoræ,

April-day, a burletta, in three acts. Written by the author of Midas. Together with the author 's voyage from Amapalla. By William Funnell. Funnell, William.

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Essays of michel de montaigne

Essays of michel de montaigne

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Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne

Written between 1571 and 1592, these were published in various editions between 1580 and 1595

  • Je veux qu'on m'y voit enma façon simple, naturelle, et ordinaire, sans étude et artifice; car c'est moi que je peins. Je suis moi-même la matière de mon livre.
    • Translation: I want to be seen here in my simple, natural, ordinary fashion, without straining or artifice; for it is myself that I portray. I am myself the matter of my book.
    • Book I (1580), To the Reader
  • Certes, c'est un subject merveilleusement vain, divers, et ondoyant, que l'homme. Il est malaisé d'y fonder jugement constant et uniforme.
    • Translation: Truly man is a marvlously vain, diverse, and undulating object. It is hard to found any constant and uniform judgement on him.
    • Book I, ch. 1
  • C'est de quoi j'ai le plus de peur que la peur.
    • Translation: The thing I fear most is fear.
    • Book I, ch, 18
  • Je veux que la mort me trouve plantant mes choux.
    • Translation: I want death to find me planting my cabbages.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • He who would teach men to die would teach them to live.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • Live as long as you please, you will strike nothing off the time you will have to spend dead.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • Wherever your life ends, it is all there. The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some men have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it. It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough.
    • Book I, ch. 20
  • Un peu de chaque chose, et rien du tout, a la française.
    • Translation: A little of everything, but nothing of everything, after the French manner.
    • On the education of children; Book I, Chapter 25
  • I do not speak the minds of others except to speak my own mind better.
    • Variant: I quote others only in order the better to express myself.
    • Book I, ch. 26
  • Since I would rather make of him an able man than a learned man, I would also urge that care be taken to choose a guide with a well-made rather than a well-filled head.
    • Book I, ch. 26
  • Parce que c'était lui; parce que c'était moi.
    • Translation: If you press me to say why I loved him, I can say no more than it was because he was he, and I was I.
    • Variants: If a man urge me to tell wherefore I loved him, I feel it cannot be expressed but by answering: Because it was he, because it was myself.
      If a man should importune me to give a reason why I loved him, I find it could no otherwise be expressed, than by making answer: because it was he, because it was I.
    • Book I, ch. 28
  • Nothing is so firmly believed as that which we least know.
    • Variant: Nothing is so firmly believed as what is least known.
    • Book I, ch. 32
  • L'homme d'entendement n'a rien perdu, s'il a soimême.
    • Translation: A man of understanding has lost nothing, if he has himself.
    • Book I, ch. 39
  • La plus grande chose du monde, c'est de savoir être à soi.
    • Translation: The greatest thing in the world is to know how to belong to oneself.
    • Book I, ch. 39
  • There is as much difference between us and ourselves as between us and others.
    • Book II (1580), ch. 1
  • C'est une épineuse entreprise, et plus qu'il ne semble, de suivre une allure si vagabonde que celle de nôtre esprit; de pénétrer les profondeurs opaques de ses replis internes; de choisir et arrêter tant de menus de ses agitations.
    • Translation: It is a thorny undertaking, and more so than it seems, to follow a movement so wandering as that of our mind, to penetrate the opaque depths of its innermost folds, to pick out and immobilize the innumerable flutterings that agitate it.
    • Book II, ch. 6
  • Mon métier et mon art, c'est vivre.
    • Translation: My trade and my art is living.
    • Book II, ch. 6
  • The easy, gentle, and sloping path. is not the path of true virtue. It demands a rough and thorny road.
    • Book II, ch. 11
  • When I play with my cat, who knows if I am not a pastime to her more than she is to me?
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • The souls of emperors and cobblers are cast in the same mold. The same reason that makes us bicker with a neighbor creates a war between princes.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • This notion (skepticism) is more clearly understood by asking "What do I know?"
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • L'homme est bien insensé. Il ne saurait forger un ciron, et forge des Dieux à douzaines.
    • Translation: Man is certainly crazy. He could not make a mite, and he makes gods by the dozen.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • Quelle vérité que ces montagnes bornent, qui est mensonge qui se tient au delà?
    • Translation: What of a truth that is bounded by these mountains and is falsehood to the world that lives beyond?
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • Ceux qui ont apparié notre vie à un songe ont eu de la raison. Nous veillons dormants et veillants dormons.
    • Translation: Those who have compared our life to a dream were right. We sleeping wake, and waking sleep.
    • Book II, ch. 12
  • How many valiant men we have seen to survive their own reputation!
    • Book II, ch. 16
  • A man may be humble through vainglory.
    • Book II, ch. 17
  • I find that the best goodness I have has some tincture of vice.
    • Book II, ch. 20
  • Saying is one thing and doing is another.
    • Book II, ch. 31
  • There were never in the world two opinions alike, any more than two hairs or two grains. Their most universal quality is diversity.
    • Book II, ch. 37
  • I will follow the good side right to the fire, but not into it if I can help it.
    • Book III (1595), ch. 1
  • I speak the truth, not my fill of it, but as much as I dare speak; and I dare to do so a little more as I grow old.
    • Book III, ch. 1
  • Few men have been admired by their own households.
    • Book III, ch. 1
  • Chaque homme porte la forme, entière de l'humaîne condition.
    • Translation: Every man bears the whole stamp of the human condition.
    • Book III, ch. 1
  • It (marriage) happens as with cages: the birds without despair to get in, and those within despair of getting out.
    • Book III, ch. 5
  • Not because Socrates said so, but because it is in truth my own disposition — and perchance to some excess — I look upon all men as my compatriots, and embrace a Pole as a Frenchman, making less account of the national than of the universal and common bond.
    • Book III, ch. 9
  • There is no man so good that if he placed all his actions and thoughts under the scrutiny of the laws, he would not deserve hanging ten times in his life.
    • Book III, ch. 9
  • A man must be a little mad if he does not want to be even more stupid.
    • Book III, ch. 9
  • I have seen no more evident monstrosity and miracle in the world than myself.
    • Book III, ch. 11
  • It is more of a job to interpret the interpretations than to interpret the things, and there are more books about books than about any other subject: we do nothing but write glosses about each other.
    • Book III, ch. 13
  • For truth itself does not have the privilege to be employed at any time and in every way; its use, noble as it is, has its circumscriptions and limits.
    • Book III, ch. 13
  • Si, avons nous beau monter sur des échasses, car sur des échasses encore faut-il marcher de nos jambes. Et au plus élevé trône du monde, si ne sommes assis que sur notre cul.
    • Translation: No matter that we may mount on stilts, we still must walk on our own legs. And on the highest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own bottom.
    • Book III, ch. 13
  • Let us give Nature a chance; she knows her business better than we do.
    • Book III, ch. 13
Attributed

Most quotations of Montaigne come from the Essais but the following have not yet been given definite citation.

  • A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.
  • A wise man sees as much as he ought, not as much as he can.
  • Age imprints more wrinkles in the mind than it does on the face.
  • Ambition is not a vice of little people.
  • An untempted woman cannot boast of her chastity.
  • Confidence in another man's virtue is no light evidence of a man's own, and God willingly favors such a confidence.
    • Variant: Confidence in the goodness of another is good proof of one's own goodness.
  • Courtesy is a science of the highest importance. It is, like grace and beauty in the body, which charm at first sight, and lead on to further intimacy and friendship, opening a door that we may derive instruction from the example of others, and at the same time enabling us to benefit them by our example, if there be anything in our character worthy of imitation.
  • Covetousness is both the beginning and the end of the devil's alphabet— the first vice in corrupt nature that moves, and the last which dies.
  • Death, they say, acquits us of all obligations.
  • Don't discuss yourself, for you are bound to lose; if you belittle yourself, you are believed; if you praise yourself, you are disbelieved.
  • Even from their infancy we frame them to the sports of love: their instruction, behavior, attire, grace, learning and all their words azimuth only at love, respects only affection. Their nurses and their keepers imprint no other thing in them.
  • Experience teaches that a strong memory is generally joined to a weak judgment.
  • Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.
  • Fashion is the science of appearances, and it inspires one with the desire to seem rather than to be.
  • Fortune, seeing that she could not make fools wise, has made them lucky.
  • Hath God obliged himself not to exceed the bounds of our knowledge?
  • He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.
  • He who fears he shall suffer, already suffers what he fears.
  • He who is not sure of his memory, should not undertake the trade of lying.
    • Variant: He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle with lying.
  • How many things we held yesterday as articles of faith which today we tell as fables.
  • I care not so much what I am to others as what I am to myself. I will be rich by myself, and not by borrowing.
  • I do myself a greater injury in lying than I do him of whom I tell a lie.
  • I know well what I am fleeing from but not what I am in search of.
  • I prefer the company of peasants because they have not been educated sufficiently to reason incorrectly.
  • If you don't know how to die, don't worry; Nature will tell you what to do on the spot, fully and adequately. She will do this job perfectly for you; don't bother your head about it.
  • In plain truth, lying is an accursed vice. We are not men, nor have any other tie upon another, but by our word.
  • In true education, anything that comes to our hand is as good as a book: the prank of a page-boy, the blunder of a servant, a bit of table talk— they are all part of the curriculum.
  • It is good to rub and polish our brain against that of others.
  • It is not death, it is dying that alarms me.
  • It is the mind that maketh good or ill, That maketh wretch or happy, rich or poor.
  • It should be noted that children at play are not playing about; their games should be seen as their most serious-minded activity.
    • Variants: It should be noted that the games of children are not games, and must be considered as their most serious actions.
      For truly it is to be noted, that children's plays are not sports, and should be deemed as their most serious actions.
  • Labour not after riches first, and think thou afterwards wilt enjoy them. He who neglecteth the present moment, throweth away all that he hath. As the arrow passeth through the heart, while the warrior knew not that it was coming; so shall his life be taken away before he knoweth that he hath it.
  • Lend yourself to others, but give yourself to yourself.
  • Let us not be ashamed to speak what we shame not to think.
  • Love to his soul gave eyes; he knew things are not as they seem. The dream is his real life; the world around him is the dream.
  • Make your educational laws strict and your criminal ones can be gentle; but if you leave youth its liberty you will have to dig dungeons for ages.
  • Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside equally desperate to get out.
  • Marriage, a market which has nothing free but the entrance.
  • My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened.
  • No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately.
  • No wind serves him who addresses his voyage to no certain port.
  • Not being able to govern events, I govern myself.
  • Nothing fixes a thing so intensely in the memory as the wish to forget it.
  • Of all our infirmities, the most savage is to despise our being.
    • Variant: Of all the infirmities we have, 'tis the most savage to despise our being." (Charles Cotton translation)
  • Once conform, once do what others do because they do it, and a kind of lethargy steals over all the finer senses of the soul.
  • Rejoice in the things that are present; all else is beyond thee.
  • So it is with minds. Unless you keep them busy with some definite subject that will bridle and control them, they throw themselves in disorder hither and yon in the vague field of imagination. And there is no mad or idle fancy that they do no bring forth in the agitation.
  • The art of dining well is no slight art, the pleasure not a slight pleasure.
  • The ceaseless labour of your life is to build the house of death.
  • The entire lower world was created in the likeness of the higher world. All that exists in the higher world appears like an image in this lower world; yet all this is but One.
  • The most manifest sign of wisdom is a continual cheerfulness; her state is like that in the regions above the moon, always clear and serene.
    • Variant: The most certain sign of wisdom is cheerfulness.
  • The most profound joy has more of gravity than of gaiety in it.
  • The strangest, most generous, and proudest of all virtues is true courage.
  • The value of life lies not in the length of days, but in the use we make of them. Whether you find satisfaction in life depends not on your tale of years, but on your will.
  • The way of the world is to make laws, but follow custom.
  • The world is all a carcass and vanity, The shadow of a shadow, a play And in one word, just nothing.
  • The world is but a perpetual see-saw.
  • The worst of my actions or conditions seem not so ugly unto me as I find it both ugly and base not to dare to avouch for them.
  • There are some defeats more triumphant than victories.
  • There is a plague on Man, the opinion that he knows something.
  • There is a sort of gratification in doing good which makes us rejoice in ourselves.
  • There is little less trouble in governing a private family than a whole kingdom.
    • Variant: There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.
  • There is no conversation more boring than the one where everybody agrees.
  • There is no passion so contagious as that of fear.
  • There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.
  • There is nothing more notable in Socrates than that he found time, when he was an old man, to learn music and dancing, and thought it time well spent.
  • Those that will combat use and custom by the strict rules of grammar do but jest.
  • 'Tis the sharpness of our mind that gives the edge to our pains and pleasures.
  • Valor is stability, not of legs and arms, but of courage and the soul.
  • We can be knowledgeable with other men's knowledge, but we cannot be wise with other men's wisdom.
  • We only labor to stuff the memory, and leave the conscience and the understanding unfurnished and void.
  • When I am attacked by gloomy thoughts, nothing helps me so much as running to my books. They quickly absorb me and banish the clouds from my mind.
  • Who does not in some sort live to others, does not live much to himself.
  • Wonder is the foundation of all philosophy, research is the means of all learning, and ignorance is the end.
  • Writing does not cause misery. It is born of misery.
External links

Wikipedia has an article about:

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The 1674 first edition of The Compleat Gamester is attributed to Cotton (by publishers of later editions, to which additional, post-Cotton material was added in 1709 and 1725, along with some updates to the rules Cotton had described earlier. The book was considered the "standard" English-language reference work on the playing of games – especially gambling games, and including billiards, card games, dice, horse racing and cock fighting, among others – until the publication of Edmond Hoyle's Mr. Hoyle's Games Complete in 1750, which outsold Cotton's then-obsolete work.[2]

At Cotton's death in 1687 he was insolvent and left his estates to his creditors. He was buried in St James's Church, Piccadilly, on February 16, 1687.

Cotton's reputation as a burlesque writer may account for the neglect with which the rest of his poems have been treated. Their excellence was not, however, overlooked by good critics. Coleridge praises the purity and unaffectedness of his style in Biographia Literaria, and Wordsworth (Preface, 1815) gave a copious quotation from the "Ode to Winter". The "Retirement" is printed by Walton in the second part of the Compleat Angler.

He was a Derbyshire man: his father moved there from the South England to live on his wife's estates. The Peak district is no longer associated with trout fishing. In Cotton's day, the inaccessibility of good fishing spots was physical as well as legal. The opening chapters of his section of the Compleat Angler draw Cotton and his friend across a savage and mountainous landscape. The friend, who will be taught fly-fishing, expresses doubt as to whether they are still in Christendom.

About the Author
Michel de Montaigne, 1533-1592

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (1533 - 1592) was a French Renaissance thinker who took himself as the object of study in his Essays. He was born in P?rigord. A lawyer and politician, he served as mayor of Bordeaux from 1581 to 1585, but had already started to write his great work, the Essais, which were published in 1580, enlarged in 1588 and still not completed to his satisfaction at the time of his death.

He was born at Beresford Hall on the border of Derbyshire and Staffordshire. His father, Charles Cotton the Elder, was a friend of Ben Jonson, John Selden, Sir Henry Wotton and Izaak Walton. The son was apparently not sent to university, but was tutored by Ralph Rawson, one of the fellows ejected from Brasenose College, Oxford, in 1648. Cotton travelled in France and perhaps in Italy, and at the age of twenty-eight he succeeded to an estate greatly encumbered by lawsuits during his father's lifetime. The rest of his life was spent chiefly in country pursuits, but from his Voyage to Ireland in Burlesque (1670) we know that he held a captain's commission and served in Ireland.

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  • I am afraid that our eyes are bigger than our stomachs, and that we have more curiosity than understanding. We grasp at everything but catch nothing but wind.
  • Indeed we seem to have criteria of truth and reason than the type and kind of opinions and customs current in the land we live. There we always see the perfect religion, the perfect political system, the perfect and most accomplished way of doing eveything.
  • This is a nation, I should say to Plato, in which there is no kind of commerce. no knowledge of letters, no science of numbers, no title of magistrate or of political superior… The very words denoting lying, treason, deceit, greed, envy, slander and forgiveness have never been heard. How far such perfection would he find the republic he imagined. “Men fresh from the hands of the Gods.”
  • We are justified therefore in calling these people barbarians by reference to the laws of reason, but not in comparison with ourselves, who surpass them in every kind of barbarity.
  • The true victory lies in battle rather than in survival; the prize of valour in fighting, not in winning.

*These are the first laws nature gave.

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Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne | Criticism

SOURCE: Jordan, Constance. “Law and Political Reference in Montaigne's ‘Apologie de Raimond Sebond.’” Rhetoric and Law in Early Modern Europe, edited by Victoria Kahn and Lorna Hutson, pp. 199-219. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2001.

In the following essay, Jordan discusses Montaigne's rejection of both divine and natural law and the implications of that rejection for the possibility of social and political change.

An ancient [philosopher] who was reproached for professing philosophy, of which nevertheless in his own mind he took no great account, replied that this was being a true philosopher. They wanted to consider everything, to weigh everything, and they found that occupation suited to the natural curiosity that is in us. Some things they wrote for the needs of the society, like their religions; and on that account it was reasonable that they did not want to bare popular opinions.

This section contains 11,111 words
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Michel de Montaigne

Michel de Montaigne


“It seemed to me as if I had myself written the book, in some former life, so sincerely it spoke to my thought and experience.” — Emerson

Michel de Montaigne, one of the most erudite humanists of the 16th century, died on this day in 1592.

[B]orn in 1533 into the minor nobility of his family’s estate near Bordeaux. … His father, a man of ideas, entrusted his early education to a tutor who spoke only Latin and no French. Until he was six years old Latin was Montaigne’s native language.” (The Complete Works )

Failing to find work which he considered useful, he retired. A Latin inscription on the wall of his study read:

[A]t the age of thirty-eight, on the last day of February, his birthday, Michael de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still entire, retired to the bosom of the learned virgins, where in calm and freedom from all cares he will spend what little remains of his life, now more than half run out. If the fates permit, he will complete this abode, this sweet ancestral retreat; and he has consecrated it to his freedom, tranquility, and leisure.

Retirement wasn’t as fun as he thought and he soon found himself fighting depression. This is when he turned to writing. And so begins The Essays. (Gutenberg ).

Montaigne reflected on themes “ranging from proper conversation and good conversation and good reading, to the raising of children and the endurance of pain, from solitude, destiny, time, and customer, to truth, consciousness, and death.” The breadth and depth of the essays shows that he looked at everything with curiosity.

“Fame and tranquility can never be bedfellows.” — Montaigne

Calling the essays his ‘foolish enterprise,’ he recognized his writings were without precedent. Montaigne was studying himself. He writes:

The world always looks straight ahead; as for me, I turn my gaze inward, I fix it there and keep it busy. Everyone looks in front of him; as for me, I look inside of me; I have no business but with myself; I continually observe myself, I take stock of myself, I taste myself. Others always go elsewhere, if they stop to think about it; they always go forward … as for me, I roll about in myself. (The Complete Works )

And this is what he’s done in the Essays, apprenticing along a road yet to be created.

On Death

If I were a writer of books, I would compile a register, with a comment, of the various deaths of men: he who should teach men to die would at the same time teach them to live.

Nature herself assists and encourages us: if the death be sudden and violent, we have not leisure to fear; if otherwise, I perceive that as I engage further in my disease, I naturally enter into a certain loathing and disdain of life. I find I have much more ado to digest this resolution of dying, when I am well in health, than when languishing of a fever; and by how much I have less to do with the commodities of life, by reason that I begin to lose the use and pleasure of them, by so much I look upon death with less terror. Which makes me hope, that the further I remove from the first, and the nearer I approach to the latter, I shall the more easily exchange the one for the other. (The Complete Works )

On The Meaning of Life

All the whole time you live, you purloin from life and live at the expense of life itself. The perpetual work of your life is but to lay the foundation of death. You are in death, whilst you are in life, because you still are after death, when you are no more alive; or, if you had rather have it so, you are dead after life, but dying all the while you live; and death handles the dying much more rudely than the dead, and more sensibly and essentially. If you have made your profit of life, you have had enough of it; go your way satisfied. (The Complete Works )

Morals

“Everywhere in the Essays,” writes Stuart Hampshire, “one encounters a strong moral taste, coolly and sometimes ironically expressed, but immensely vivid and dominant.”

His preference for moderation lead him to despise cruelty and violence.

[A]mong all other vices, I cruelly hate cruelty, both by nature and by judgment, as the extreme of all vices. But this is to such a point of softness that I do not see a chicken’s neck wrung without distress … (The Complete Works )

Worst of all is the cruelty that often supports opinions.

Should the regular means [of support] be lacking, we support them with commends, force, fire, and sword … There is a certain strong and generous ignorance that concedes nothing to knowledge in honor and courage, an ignorance that requires no less knowledge to conceive it than does knowledge. … After all, it is putting a very high price on one’s conjectures to have a man roasted alive because of them. (The Complete Works )

Doctors

“The simpler and less artificial the social system,” writes Henderson, “the less the oppression and cruelty.”

Even within his own society he respected and admired craftsmen and working men for their good sense and decency and distrusted the more polished and educated members of professional classes, each with their own pretenses. (The Complete Works )

Indeed, Montaigne lambasts the whole medical profession. Their knowledge is opinion, theories that are neither tested nor testable.

Everyone competes in plastering up and confirming this accepted belief, with all the power of their reason, which is a supple tool, pliable, and adaptable to any form. Thus the world is filled and soaked with twaddle and lies. (The Complete Works )

“It is not in Montaigne but in myself, that I find all that I see in him.” — Pascal.

On Solitude

In his essay On Solitude Montaigne

Takes up a theme that has been popular since ancient times: the intellectual and moral dangers of living among others, and the value of solitude. Montaigne is not stressing the importance of physical solitude, but rather of developing the ability to resist the temptation to mindlessly fall in with the opinion and actions of the mob. He compares our desire for the approval of our fellow humans to being overly attached to material wealth and possessions. Both passions diminish us, Montaigne claims, but he does not conclude that we should relinquish either, only that we should cultivate a detachment from them. By doing so, we may enjoy them—and even benefit from them—but we will not become emotionally enslaved to them, or devastated if we lose them.

“On solitude” then considers how our desire for mass approval is linked to the pursuit of glory, or fame. Contrary to thinkers such as Niccolo Machiavelli, who see glory as a worthy goal, Montaigne believes that constant striving for fame is the greatest barrier to peace of mind, or tranquility. (The Philosophy Book )

Montaigne is more interested in shaking off the desire for glory in the eyes of others than whether we achieve it or not. The approval of others should not be our motivation. He goes on to recommend

that instead of looking for the approbation of those around us, we should imagine that some truly great and noble being is constantly with us, able to observe our most private thoughts, a being in whose presence even the mad would hide their failings. By doing this, we learn to think clearly and objectively and behave in a more thoughtful and rational manner. (The Philosophy Book )

Caring too much about what other people think corrupts us. He argues we either end up imitating evil (see Gresham’s Law ) or become so consumed by our pursuit that we lose our reason.

“The most beautiful lives to my taste are those which frame themselves to the common model, the human model, with order but without miracles and without extravagance.” — Montaigne

Still Montaigne remains a mystery to most people. The most accessible account of Montaigne is Sarah Bakewell’s book, How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer. She brings him to life.

This is a good starting point if you think you might want to read The Essays but don’t think you’re up for the challenge of 1,000 + pages. But making you work for it is part of the pleasure.

If there was one author who captured Hirschmann’s imagination, it was Michel de Montaigne. The highly personal vignettes, meditations, and moral reflections shook Hirschmann to his core. He immediately grasped the power of the essays — Montaigne questioned absolute forms of knowledge by submitting everything to the interrogating eye of the observer, starting by looking at himself, turning himself over and over to capture the multiple points of perspective or the multiple forms of the self. “We are never ‘at home’: we are always outside ourselves,” Montaigne wrote. “Whoever would do what he has to do would see that the first thing he must learn to know is what he is.”

Michel de Montaigne: The Complete Essays is available as a free download from Project Gutenberg .