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It's the typesetting, not Montaigne
on May 20, 2014
My first thought on seeing the print: "not a pleasant font ... leading also too tight for ease of reading."
Montaigne's essays have lived for over 400 years, so his appeal can't be questioned. What makes this edition hard to deal with is the typesetting. The space between lines -- the leading -- leaves lines so scrunched together it's hard to stay focused on the ideas. For days I set the book aside, partly because I was busy, but also because I didn't want to face those scrunched lines anymore. I'm back at it, and the ideas are always stimulating, but the narrow leading is a recurring distraction.
Donald M. Frame's translation is highly acclaimed, and I've since learned also appears in Everyman's Library. A friend, who works with catalogs and design, had no problem with that typesetting. This edition also includes Montaigne’s letters and his travel journal. Had I known earlier, I'd have bought it.