Michel de Montaigne

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne ( mon-TAYN; French: [mil ekm d mt]; 28 February 1533 13 September 1592), also known as Lord of Montaigne, was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance. He is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. His work is noted for its merging of casual anecdotes and autobiography with intellectual insight. His massive volume Essais contains some of the most influential essays ever written.
Montaigne had a direct influence on Western writers including Francis Bacon, Ren Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Montesquieu, Edmund Burke, Joseph De Maistre, Voltaire, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, David Hume, Edward Gibbon, Virginia Woolf, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Jean Meslier, John Henry Newman, Karl Marx, Sigmund Freud, Alexander Pushkin, Charles Darwin, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, Fulton Sheen, Albert Camus, and on the later works of William Shakespeare.
During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that “I am myself the matter of my book” was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne came to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt that began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, ”Que say-je?” (“What do I know?”, in Middle French; now rendered as “Que sais-je?” in modern French).


eBooks: Essays, Vol. 1 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 10 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 11 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 12 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 13 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 14 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 15 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 16 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 17 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 18 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 19 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 2 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 3 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 4 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 5 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 6 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 7 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 8 of 19 | Essays, Vol. 9 of 19 | The Essays of Montaigne, Complete

Works by Michel de Montaigne: