French Essayist Michel De Montaigne

French Essayist Michel De Montaigne-71
Around the year 1539, Montaigne was sent to study at a prestigious boarding school in Bordeaux, the Collège de Guyenne, afterward studying law in Toulouse and entering a career in the legal system.Montaigne was a counselor of the Court des Aides of Périgueux, and in 1557 he was appointed counselor of the Parliament in Bordeaux.His mother, Antoinette de Louppes, came from a wealthy Spanish Jewish family, but was herself raised Protestant.

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While serving at the Bordeaux Parliament, he became very close friends with the humanist writer Étienne de la Boétie whose death in 1563 deeply influenced Montaigne.

From 1561 to 1563 Montaigne was present at the court of King Charles IX.

In his own time, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author.

His tendency to diverge into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as a detriment rather than an innovation, and his stated motto that "I am myself the matter of my book" was viewed by contemporary writers as self-indulgent.

Montaigne married in 1565; he had five daughters, but only one survived childhood, and he mentioned them only scantily in his writings.

Following the petition of his father, Montaigne started to work on the first translation of the Spanish monk, Raymond Sebond's Theologia naturalis, which he published a year after his father's death in 1568.The sciences were presented to him in most pedagogical ways: through games, conversation, exercises of solitary meditation, etc., but never through books.Music was played from the moment of Montaigne's awakening.While in Rome in 1581, Montaigne learned that he had been elected mayor of Bordeaux; he returned and served until 1585, again mediating between Catholics and Protestants.His eloquence as a statesman and his ability to successfully negotiate between the warring Catholic and Protestant factions earned Montaigne a great deal of respect throughout France, and for most of his life he would be remembered for his excellence as a politician even more than for his writings.The family was very rich; his grandfather, Ramon Eyquem, had made a fortune as a herring merchant and had bought the estate in 1477.His father, Pierre Eyquem, was a soldier in Italy for a time, developing some very progressive views on education there; he had also been the mayor of Bordeaux.The entire field of modern literary non-fiction owes its genesis to Montaigne, and non-fiction writers of all kinds—from essayists to journalists to historians—continue to read Montaigne for his masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and graceful style.Montaigne was born in Périgord on the family estate, Château de Montaigne, in a town now called Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne, not far from Bordeaux.His intellectual education was assigned to a German tutor (a doctor named Horstanus who couldn't speak French); and strict orders were given to him and to everyone in the castle (servants included) to always speak to the boy in Latin—and even to use the language among themselves anytime he was around.The Latin education of Montaigne was accompanied by constant intellectual and spiritual stimulation.


Comments French Essayist Michel De Montaigne

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    French essayist born, as he himself tells us, between eleven o'clock and noon on the 28th of February 1533. The patronymic of the Montaigne family, who.…

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    Michel Eyquem Montaigne, seigneur de mŏntān´, Fr. mēshĕl´ ākĕm´ sānyör´ də môNtĕn´yə, 1533–92, French essayist. Montaigne was one of the greatest.…

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