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Michel de Montaigne

French-Occitan author, humanistic philosopher, statesman

1533   -   1592

country of citizenship: Kingdom of France
native language: French
occupation: philosopher, translator, jurist, essayist, autobiographer, politician, poet lawyer, French moralist, writer
position held: Mayor of Bordeaux
student of: Muretus, George Buchanan

Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Lord of Montaigne (; French: [miʃɛl ekɛm də mɔ̃tɛɲ]; 28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592) was one of the most significant philosophers of the French Renaissance, 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, René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Albert Hirschman, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer, Isaac Asimov, and possibly 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 which began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, "Que sçay-je?" ("What do I know?", in Middle French; now rendered as Que sais-je? in modern French).
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collection of works by Michel de Montaigne

author: Michel de Montaigne


Journal de voyage

book by Michel de Montaigne

author: Michel de Montaigne

The Essays

author: Michel de Montaigne

The complete Essays

author: Michel de Montaigne


author: Michel de Montaigne

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