Selections from the Essays of Montaigne Background

Selections from the Essays of Montaigne Background

Selections from the Essays of Montaigne is a collection of essays written by Michel de Montaigne. Montaigne was a French writer, philosopher, and statesman in the 1500s. Since he lived at the end of the century, he lived and wrote in the environment of the end of the European Renaissance, with the chaos erupting, as the Calvinist Reformation and the Wars of Religion took place during the latter half of his life. Though there were plenty of political, social, and religious issues that Montaigne could have written about, but he chose to focus his essay on himself.

The essays in this collection were written during a time that was particularly sensitive to controversial writing. There were quite a few disagreements during this time and “truth” was nothing but an illusion-filled and deceptive concept, Montaigne’s writing bore a unique sense of honesty and truthfulness in that he derived his writing from his own experiences, extrapolating that out to the general human condition.

Notable aspects of Montaigne’s writing in this collection is that it combines two different types of writing, anecdotes of his own life and philosophical concepts. Though this unique style of writing was not admired by his contemporaries, it made writing in the style of the essay more popular and was also highly emulated by later Western writers.

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