Coffret Montaigne - Essais I, II et III
|Author:||Michel de Montaigne|
"Les gens plus sages, peuvent se forger un repos tout spirituel, ayant l'âme forte et vigoureuse : Moi qui l'ai commune, il faut que j'aide à me soutenir par les commodités corporelles : Et l'âge m'ayant tantôt dérobé celles qui étaient plus à ma fantaisie, j'instruis et aiguise mon appétit à celles qui restent plus sortables à cette autre saison. Il faut retenir à tout nos dents et nos griffes l'usage des plaisirs de la vie, que nos ans nous arrachent des poings, les uns après les autres" (I, 39, "De la solitude").
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. Montaigne is known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography — and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts") contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written.
In his own time, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman then 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 would 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 sais-je?' ('What do I know?').