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Montaigne's Travel Journal Paperback – November, 1983

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Language Notes

Text: English, French (translation)

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 175 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Pr; First of This Edition edition (November 1983)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0865471231
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865471238
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.8 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #360,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
In September 1580, Montaigne set out for Rome by way of Austria and Switzerland for what would end up being a 17-month trip. The same intelligence, objectivity and goodwill that characterize his famous Essays appear in this travel journal as well, making it a joy to read. An excerpt:

"On the eve of Easter I saw at Saint John Lateran the heads of Saint Paul and Saint Peter that are shown there, which still have their flesh, color, and beard, as if they were alive: Saint Peter, a white and slightly longish face, his color ruddy and inclined to the sanguine, a forked gray beard, his head covered with a papal miter; Saint Paul, dark, his face broad and stouter, the head bigger, the beard gray, thick. They are up high in a special place. The way of showing them is that they call the people by the sound of bells, and by fits and starts lower a curtain be-hind which are these heads, side by side. They Iet them be seen for the time it takes to say an Ave Maria, and immediately raise the curtain again; after that they lower it again in the same way, and this up to three times. They repeat this exhibition four or five times during the day. The place is about as high as a pike, and then there is a heavy iron grill through which you look. They light several tapers around it on the out-side; but it is hard to discern very clearly all the details. I saw them two or three times. The polish of these faces had some resemblance to our masks." (p. 95)

The heads are still in the church; unfortunately they are no longer displayed publicly.

North Point Press' books are wonderful examples of the bookmaker's art, but the company went out of business quite a while ago. Be sure to buy their edition if you can find one. The Foreword by Guy Davenport and Introduction by Donald M. Frame are icing on the cake.
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Fascinating and important historic document, giving us a glimpse of an important man at an important time. As always however there are things you just wish he'd have recorded. The gaps are as tantalising as the narrative is interesting.
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