Tagged: Michel de Montaigne Toggle Comment Threads | Keyboard Shortcuts

  • Doug Belshaw 2:42 pm on June 7, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: equality, , Michel de Montaigne   

    Laws are often made by fools, and even more often by men who fail in equity because they hate equality, but always by men, vain authorities who can resolve nothing.

    Michel de Montaigne, ‘On experience’

  • Doug Belshaw 8:30 pm on March 10, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Michel de Montaigne,   

    Pleasure chews and grinds us.


  • Doug Belshaw 6:49 am on February 27, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: introspection, Michel de Montaigne, ,   

    Writing is a process of discovery 

    Unable, or perhaps unwilling, to do my usual exercise due to not being able to wear contact lenses at the moment, I sat down yesterday evening with my back to our bedroom radiator to read Stefan Zweig’s Montaigne.

    It’s a short book, and quite odd, in that it doesn’t really quote much from Montaigne’s Essays, nor does it go into a lot of detail about his life. Instead, what I appreciated about Zweig’s writing is that it simultaneously discusses the impact that Montaigne has had on the author, and the context within which Montaigne lived and wrote.

    I hadn’t realised, for example, that the famous circular tower in which Montaigne wrote (his ‘citadel’) was somewhere he’d retreated to aged just 37. Nor was I aware that, a decade later, Montaigne realised that he could never fully retreat from the world, and so set about on a tour of Europe, never planning ahead where to go next, but just going where he fancied. He was away (with a small retinue) for two years.

    Of course, all of this was possible for Montaigne because of his estate and the income generated by it. But I didn’t know that this was quite a recent thing, ancestrally-speaking, for the Montaignes. In fact, even that surname was purchased, along with a coat of arms. Only a couple of generations previously his family had been fish merchants!

    What I’ve always appreciated in Montaigne’s writing is that, as many others have said before me, he was a kind of 16th-century ‘blogger’. By starting from introspection, humility, and self-deprecation, he was able to write some of the finest essays ever written. Although he too had his foibles around fame and glory, it’s a reminder to me to write for myself, first and foremost.

  • Doug Belshaw 7:30 am on January 2, 2020 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Michel de Montaigne   

    We have qualities and inclinations so much our own, and so incorporate in is, that we have not the means to feel and recognize them: and of such natural inclinations the body will retain a certain bent, without our knowledge or consent.

    Michel de Montaigne
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