Michel De Montaigne Essays Summary

Michel De Montaigne Essays Summary-46
In 1565 Montaigne was married, acting less out of love than out of a sense of familial and social duty, to Françoise de la Chassaigne, the daughter of one of his colleagues at the Parliament of Bordeaux.He fathered six daughters, five of whom died in infancy, whereas the sixth, Léonore, survived him. He had undertaken the task at the request of his father, who, however, died in 1568, before its publication, leaving to his oldest son the title and the domain of Montaigne.

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Both the Roman Catholic king Henry III and the Protestant king Henry of Navarre—who as Henry IV would become king of France and convert to Roman Catholicism—honoured and respected Montaigne, but extremists on both sides criticized and harassed him.

After the 1580 publication, eager for new experiences and profoundly disgusted by the state of affairs in France, Montaigne set out to travel, and in the course of 15 months he visited areas of France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, and Italy.

In Montaigne’s essay On the Cannibals, the critical analysis of European and Brazilian societies through the scope of the “other” establishes the distinction between the two worlds.

However, the definitions of “self” and “other” quickly become blurred as Montaigne connected more synonymous aspects in governance and functioning of the two groups of people.

Living, as he did, in the second half of the 16th century, Montaigne bore witness to the decline of the intellectual optimism that had marked the Renaissance.

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The sense of immense human possibilities, stemming from the discoveries of the New World travelers, from the rediscovery of classical antiquity, and from the opening of scholarly horizons through the works of the humanists, was shattered in France when the advent of the Calvinistic Reformation was followed closely by religious persecution and by the Wars of Religion (1562–98).By labeling the outsiders as the “self” and accepting their formalities as the norm, he undermines the Europeans as the “other” and uses the Barbarians to examine the civilized with an untainted perspective, enabling close scrutiny and analysis of both societies.It is through this definition that Montaigne is initially able to offer criticism of the ignorance of European arrogance and assumed superiority over the Barbarians.Our editors will review what you’ve submitted and determine whether to revise the article.Join Britannica's Publishing Partner Program and our community of experts to gain a global audience for your work!He continued his education at the College of Guyenne, where he found the strict discipline abhorrent and the instruction only moderately interesting, and eventually at the University of Toulouse, where he studied law.Following in the public-service tradition begun by his grandfather, he entered into the magistrature, becoming a member of the Board of Excise, the new tax court of Périgueux, and, when that body was dissolved in 1557, of the Parliament of Bordeaux, one of the eight regional parliaments that constituted the French Parliament, the highest national court of justice.Montaigne concludes that the civilized and uncivilized both possess aspects that deviate from the idealized state of purity of Nature.The Europeans are far more corrupted but upon further introspection, the Cannibals are evolving towards the same nature of developing a more inorganic society.In his essay “On Friendship” Montaigne wrote in a very touching manner about his bond with La Boétie, which he called perfect and indivisible, vastly superior to all other human alliances.When La Boétie died of dysentery, he left a void in Montaigne’s life that no other being was ever able to fill, and it is likely that Montaigne started on his writing career, six years after La Boétie’s death, in order to fill the emptiness left by the loss of the irretrievable friend.

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