Drawn from Life: Selected Essays of Michel de Montaigne, by Michel de Montaigne
The essays of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, the 16th-century French philosopher, display a masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal story-telling. Montaigne popularised the genre of the essay form, coining the term from the French verb 'essayer', translated literally as attempts or trials.
In this collection, Montaigne ponders the great and small questions of life and subjects as diverse as education, fear, reading and death. Throughout his essays he attempts to reach a deeper understanding of himself and, in so doing, he touches on the greater human condition. His natural curiosity for life shines through in his lively, at times rambling, pieces and the charm of his writing continues to captivate modern readers.
This selection is introduced by Tim Parks and is from the M A Creech translation.
“Montaigne suggests a way that Western thought might still have taken, not based on information, idealism or concepts of progress. He is perhaps the last writer who gathers together the vast wisdom of antiquity and, entirely ignoring Christianity, seeks to seduce us toward a happier way of life.” - Tim Parks