Montaigne’s Essays

December 4, 2007

In an earlier post, I mentioned how much I like Paul Theroux’s travel books. Theroux mentioned that he keeps a copy of Montaigne’s essays with him at all times, to keep himself company when he runs out of other books. When going through some old boxes of books, looking for a copy of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, which I still haven’t found, I stumbled across a copy I bought at a used book store for $0.25, all torn and marked up, and started flipping through it. The essays are quite remarkable, and stunningly modern for something written in the 1500’s. Listen:

There is not a man living whom it would so little become to speak from memory as myself, for I have scarcely any at all, and do not think that the world has another so marvellously treacherous as mine. My other faculties are all sufficiently ordinary and mean; but in this I think myself very rare and singular, and deserving to be thought famous.

It’s no doubt naive on my part, but I was surprised to hear the self-deprecating sense of humor, which I associate with modernism, but evidently dates much earlier than that. This is a person that I would like to have know, and, barring that, am looking forward to reading more of his essays.

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One Response to “Montaigne’s Essays”


  1. […] Montaigne’s EssaysBy feedingthesnakeTheroux mentioned that he keeps a copy of Montaigne’s essays with him at all times, to keep himself company when he runs out of other books. When going through some old boxes of books, looking for a copy of Boswell’s Life of Johnson, …Feeding The Snake – https://feedingthesnake.wordpress.com […]


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