Montaigne, Michel Eyquem, seigneur de
On Friendship,which commemorates Montaigne's association with Étienne de La Boétie. A middle period, characterized by Montaigne's motto
Que sais-je?[what do I know?], which sums up his skeptical attitude toward all knowledge, is represented by the
Apologie de Raimond Sebond.This essay purportedly defends a Catalan theologian whose work Montaigne had translated (1569), but it is actually an exposition on human fallibility. Montaigne's last essays reflect his acceptance of life as good and his conviction that humankind must discover their own nature in order to live with others in peace and dignity. The style of his essays is usually familiar, full of concrete images and lively or humorous digressions. Montaigne's works have been widely read abroad and have greatly influenced English literature. The old standard translation of his Essais was that of John Florio (1603); other translations include those of Jacob Zeitlin (1934–36) and Donald Frame (1957).
See his Autobiography (tr. by M. Lowenthal, 1956); biographies by D. M. Frame (1965, repr. 1984) and P. Desan (tr. 2017); studies by A. Gide (tr. 1933, repr. 1939), P. P. Hallie (1967), D. Frame (1940, 1955, and 1969), M. A. Screech (1984), and S. Bakewell (2010).
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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