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The Complete Essays of Montaigne Paperback

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 908 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press; 1 edition (June 1, 1958)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804704864
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804704861
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 6.1 x 1.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #226,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

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See all 19 customer reviews
Reading this book is like cosying up with an old friend.
Montaigne tried to escape dogmatic thoughts finding a new way of hammering out thoughts via his typical relaxed method of writing.
I own both, Donald M. FrameŐs translation of the complete works, and CottonŐs staple translation of the essays.
Michael Sympson

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

84 of 93 people found the following review helpful By tepi on June 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
Those who discover Montaigne should count themselves very lucky. There are so many authors competing for our attention today, so many brilliant and less than brillliant men and women both contemporary and of the past, so many poets, novelists, philosophers, thinkers of every stripe, that Montaigne's voice can easily get lost in the general racket, like the voice of a single cricket on a noisy summer's night.
But Montaigne's voice is well worth singling out for special attention, like that one cricket whose song is especially musical, because there has never been anyone quite like him, nor anyone who has produced such a wealth of sensible observations on life and everything that goes to make it up.
We love Montaigne for his humanity, his wisdom, his clear insight into human nature, his tolerance of our weaknesses and failings, his love and compassion for all creatures whether man, animal, or plant, his calm, gentle and amiable voice, his stately and dignified progress as he conducts us through the vast repository of his mind. But above all we love him for his plain good sense.
Despite his distance in time, we can open these essays almost anywhere and immediately become engrossed. Some of what he says, particularly about our weaknesses and failings, may not be particularly welcome to some, though the open-minded will acknowledge its self-evident truth. Montaigne was not afraid to speak his mind, and as a man who was interested in almost everything, his observations range from the curious through to the truly profound.
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50 of 58 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 28, 2000
Format: Paperback
I know that Donald Frame has been widely praised for the quality of his translation and having used it side by side with the original I wouldn't disagree. There are however two points where I would like to voice a differing opinion. Any translation of a work should only presume to translate one language--if the author employs quotations in his work in languages other than his own they should remain untranslated in the body of the work (translations of Latin and Italian can either go side by side or in footnotes). This preserves the quality of presentation that the author strove for and is especially important with Montaigne, part of whose charm resides in his famous erudition. On the other hand, one area that a translation rightly smooths the path for a modern reader is in providing citations for Montaigne's quotations. Frame neglects to do this and while one can expect to know the exact locus of some of Montaigne's quotes, the educational environment of our day and his differs to such an extent that a worthwhile edition would provide references to passages cited--after all, Cicero survives in some 30 volumes and any given sentence is not that easy to track down.
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43 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Michael Sympson on May 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Should I ever be forced to run away from war and disaster with nothing else but one book in a torn briefcase, or find myself at the business-end of a feeding tube in a hospital waiting for my last breather, then Montaigne would be a strong candidate to keep me company in this last and loneliest hour. Not that I have a hard time to choose, there is really only one other book I would consider, and it is most definitely not the bible, but Montaigne always conveyed to me the warmth and comfort of a good friend. Even when he sometimes loses me and prattles away on some obsession of his, it is like listening to your best friend without really listening, you are just glad he is there. What is it about this Frenchman I wonder, that has endured for such a long period of time? Shakespeare too still speaks to us, but often in a somewhat muffled voice, time and distance are beginning to tell Đ but Montaigne, who predated Shakespeare and even provided Hamlet with a few clues and phrases, strikes us still as fresh and modern as ever. He is one of those writers of which I have read every line ever printed; and apart from his essays, the itinerary of his travel to Italy has always been of particular interest to me, because it describes places I used to know intimately. How could times have changed so much, and certainly not always to the better. But in Montaigne this remote period becomes alive again, its comforts (or the lack of it), its smells, its behaviors, and of course the food (Montaigne was French after all) maintain their tangible presence and a glow like the memories of a distant childhood.Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Caraculiambro on January 7, 2010
Format: Paperback
I've had this thing since the late 80s. Even then I was amazed by it. It should have been called "The Ultimate Montaigne," because unless you want to put the original text on the facing pages, I don't see how this could ever be improved.

If you're doing Montaigne in English, you will never find a reason to use another edition. All of Montaigne's essays complete, and all with Frame's useful and non-condescending footnotes right on the bottom of every page: translating the Latin, providing helpful historical or contextual information, etc.
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