The Complete Essays by Michel de Montaigne

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Read The Complete Essays Online Free - Michel de Montaigne was one of the most influential figures of the Renaissance, singlehandedly responsible for popularising the essay as a literary form. This Penguin Classics edition of The Complete Essays is translated from the French and edited with an introduction and notes by M.A. Screech.

In 1572 Montaigne retired to his estates in order to devote himself to leisure, reading and reflection. There he wrote his constantly expanding 'assays', inspired by the ideas he found in books contained in his library and from his own experience. He discusses subjects as diverse as war-horses and cannibals, poetry and politics, sex and religion, love and friendship, ecstasy and experience. But, above all, Montaigne studied himself as a way of drawing out his own inner nature and that of men and women in general. The Essays are among the most idiosyncratic and personal works in all literature and provide an engaging insight into a wise Renaissance mind, continuing to give pleasure and enlightenment to modern readers.

With its extensive introduction and notes, M.A. Screech's edition of Montaigne is widely regarded as the most distinguished of recent times.

Michel de Montaigne (1533-1586) studied law and spent a number of years working as a counsellor before devoting his life to reading, writing and reflection.

If you enjoyed The Complete Essays, you might like Francois Rabelais's Gargantua and Pantagruel, also available in Penguin Classics.

'Screech's fine version ... must surely serve as the definitive English Montaigne'
A.C. Grayling, Financial Times

'A superb edition'
Nicholas Wollaston, Observer

Title : The Complete Essays
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 0140446044
Edition Language : English
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 1344 pages


Geoff rated it ★★★★★

October 31, 2014

Okay I've read enough of this now, in a wide variety of settings, at miscellaneous times, within sundry atmospheres, such as late nights in bed under the lamp's pale glow, bright mornings early at certain tables or on metros, over coffees and over beers or over blended rye or such-like things, in...

Lizzy rated it ★★★★★

February 18, 2017

"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 myself; I have no business but with myself, I take stock of myself, I taste myself… I roll about in myself." Alas, Montaigne inspires me! The Complete Essays covers all kind of sub...

Warwick rated it ★★★★★

February 16, 2015

Clive James says somewhere that certain people throughout history are like ambassadors from the present stationed in the past: though separated from us by centuries, to read them is to share in thoughts and feelings that we recognise intimately as our own. And this is what Montaigne has been for...

Roy rated it ★★★★★

June 15, 2016

e'ssay. (2) A loose sally of the mind; an irregular indigested piece; not a regular and orderly composition. —From Samuel Johnson's Dictionary of the English Language. Now I finally have an answer to the famous “desert island book” question: This book. It would have to be. Not that Montaigne’s Essa...

Julia rated it ★★★★★

September 03, 2009

I kind of half jokingly refer to this book as "the introverts bible". Certainly a must read, especially for those of us who live a more contemplative life. The Essays are moving and funny, edifying, and at times very sad. Montaigne's observations range from the very specific and particular to the...

Szplug rated it ★★★★★

February 15, 2011

Montaigne is one of my all-time favorite dudes - truly a bridge between eras and endowed with enough sagacity and wisdom to guide a nation. Wonderful and warm humanity and sparklingly sere humor, but he can chuck 'em, too: a handful of quiet paragraphs from his essays on Liars and Cowards scorche...

Jorge rated it ★★★★☆

August 19, 2016

“El hombre es un objeto extraordinariamente vano, diverso y fluctuante”. Es una lástima que una vez concluido un libro sólo queden restos de él en la memoria y esto sólo por un muy corto tiempo, para luego desaparecer casi por completo, permaneciendo sólo un lejano y tal vez distorsionado recuerd...

David rated it ★★★★☆

March 25, 2015

A French aristocrat shares his personal opinions 6 January 2013 Normally I would wait until I have finished a book to write a commentary, however this book is a lot different in that is contains a large collection of essays on a multiple of subjects. Secondly, I have not been reading this book con...

Özlem rated it ★★★★★

October 04, 2016

Hayatla ilgili neredeyse aklımıza gelebilecek her şeyi yazmış Montaigne. Ve bunu o kadar samimi bir şekilde yapmış ki okurken sanki Montaigne karşımda ve bana öğüt veriyormuş gibi hissettim. Hatta bazı yerlerde "ee napmam gerek bu durumda?" diye düşünürken bir sonraki cümlede cevaplarımı buldum....

Jim rated it ★★★★★

August 15, 2008

I've been skipping my way around Montaigne's superb Essays this summer. This is possibly the best bedside book ever – or if you're a morning person, an excellent companion for a leisurely cup of coffee. Written almost 500 years ago, these essays are as fresh as tomorrow. Montaigne is always ahead...

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