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Essays by Michel de Montaigne » Michel de Montaigne

Essais, the large collection of short essays by Michel De Montaigne was published in 1580. The essays are a reflection of Montaigne’s personality, his interests and learning. They describe humans, particularly Montaigne himself. Be it highlighting his poor memory, solving matters without the intervention of unnecessary emotions, attempting to get rid of worldly commitments to prepare for death or revealing his hatred for religious conflicts, Montaigne expressed his thoughts freely through his essays. The honesty in his tone makes the pieces all the more interesting to read. In his writings, Montaigne explores the various aspects of human nature and life by writing and guiding the reader on various aspects of life such as the art of conversation, raising children, tackling loss and grief, handling sexual desire, reading, preparing for and understanding the reality of death.

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Historical Context for Essays by Michel de Montaigne

There were two turning points in de Gournay’s life. The first was when, as Diski writes, “she resolved to be neither nun nor a wife. She could see nothing wrong with just reading books. But could a grown woman have a life that was devoted to reading?” Her ambition to earn a living through literature was remarkable for her times and her sex. The second life-changing event was reading a collection of essays by Michel de Montaigne, now widely regarded as the father of the modern essay. Montaigne’s work struck such a chord with the girl that she fainted with excitement.