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The Complete Works (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – April 29, 2003
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Also included in this complete edition of his works are Montaigne's letters and travel journal, fascinating records of the experiences and contemplations that would shape and infuse his essays. Montaigne speaks to us always in a personal voice in which his virtues of tolerance, moderation, and understanding are dazzlingly manifest.
Donald M. Frame's masterful translation is widely acknowledged to be the classic English version.
Top Customer Reviews
i am a fluent reader in the middle french of montaigne's text and own the "old" bibliothèque de la pléiade edition of his complete works. i'll say categorically that donald frame's translation is superior both to the older version by charles cotton and william hazlitt (pleasing for its antiquarian savor, but a hard slog for the average reader) and the recent versions by j.m. cohen and m.a. screech (both in paperback from penguin books). frame is much more accurate than all the others at reproducing montaigne's virile, brusque and improvisatory sentence structures, and best captures his lively and pregnant contrasts in the choice of vulgar, colloquial, informal, formal and ironically fussy expressions.
all translations (and, in fact, almost all french editions) modernize the text in various ways. translations break up montaigne's longer paragraphs, and use periods to separate the sentences strung together with semicolons, but frame is the least drastic with these and other "modernizing" changes, and best conveys the subtle changes in tempo that are characteristic of montaigne's style.
every edition of a "classical" text depends in part on a critical apparatus to clarify the historical period and the author's references to other works.Read more ›
The essays speak for themselves, or at least should. Their popularity is well known and well deserved, and there are a number of fine essay collections available. What's great about this edition is that included with the classic essays are a few extant letters and Montaigne's travel journals, which were lost until almost two hundred years after his death. These additional pieces are not going to rival the essays in popularity -- the letters are few and formal, for instance -- but if you enjoy the mind of Montaigne you'll enjoy these extra inclusions.
Between June of 1580 and December of 1581, Montaigne -- with four other nobles and a variety of servants -- traveled through France, Germany, Switzerland and Italy before returning to Bordeaux. In the journals you'll find more evidence of the author's deeply interested view of the world around him, set out in that seemingly (and charmingly) haphazard, humane style found in spades in the essays.
In one entry, for instance, you'll find him retelling (with a straight face?) a local story he has heard of a young girl who jumped up and down so strenuously during play that she turned into a boy (Montaigne claims that at least a few locals back up this tale); in other entries you'll find him more down to earth, describing, for instance, the little stoves in the homes of Germany, or the tiles that lined some of the homes in what is now Switzerland, or the murals on the walls of Jeanne D'Arc's father's home.
By 1581, when Montaigne visited Rome, the treasures of the Vatican had become a mandatory stop on any well-informed traveller's itinerary.Read more ›
Or how about: "No quality embraces us purely and universally. If it did not seem crazy to talk to oneself, there is not a day I would not be heard growling at myself, 'Confounded fool!' And yet I do not intend for that to be my definition."
I distrust Montaigne's opinions on women and God--but to be right about mankind and life on Earth is a lot. As heavy as it is, this big book is always in my bag. Spend some time with it--it will help you stay sane.
What a wonderful book, It is by far in all the books I have read the best by far without measure. I held Shakespeare as the gold standard until I read the Essays. Then I found a richness of ideas and a elegance of language that is beyond comparison.
The Essays are intersting because of the topics but also because Montaigne is talking directly to you. He is a man who would rather speak to you and converse than write to you. Luckly this man did write for us. The essays often are relevant to this day. They give a great deal of history of philosphy and history of France and the world. But mostly they give us an intimate history of one man.
This is the one book for the desert island. It is over a thousand pages but will be read many times by myself. The Essays vary from a page and half to about 200 pages. They cover so many topics and are so full of digressions I recommend that you just dive in. As Montaigne aged his essays grew in complexty and length.
He is a friend that I will never lay eyes on. I usally hate onsided conversations but with Montaigne I am glad I got to hear him speak from the page.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
If such things are of interest to you, this is something you cannot do without, especially if you have read any Montaigne Bios.Published 10 days ago by John R. Mccormick
Amazing essays from the past... Michel was a great writer, his work is like having a conversation with the author. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Tom Fugate
This book exceeded my expectations. The size and quality are excellent for the price. The sewn-in ribbon bookmark adds a touch of old world elegance. Read morePublished 1 month ago by L. Columbus
The author is a cornerstone of world literature and it's all here. Worth a deep study and convenient in one volume. Read morePublished 2 months ago by thirdtwin
I was suddenly taken with the idea of reading Montaigne. I had purchased Sarah Bakewell's biography of Montaigne and decided to read the man himself. Read morePublished 2 months ago by KO6JW
Michel de Montaigne is of course great. Perhaps it was Montaigne's intention to suggest that the victorious merciful warriors, kings and princes who spared the lives of some of the... Read morePublished 3 months ago by I. M. Flaud
I had heard so much about this book and I was really looking forward to reading it. Well, I'll be reading it for a long while, because like a wonderful meal, this book is not to be... Read morePublished 10 months ago by hirell