About Adam Stevenson
- Reader profile
Name: Adam Stevenson
[ book tip by Adam Stevenson ] Some people are born wise, some people achieve wisdom, and some people pick up the Essays of Michel de Montaigne.
Michel Equyem de Montaigne was a sixteenth century French nobleman, fluent in classical Latin, with a fondness for good company and new ideas. In 1571, he isolated himself in his study so he could read, learn and think. This isolation started to drive him mad and he resolved to write his way out of his madness, using the only subject he was certain about – himself.
In contemplating all topics through his own consciousness, Montaigne manages to humanise and enliven anything he chooses to talk about. All subjects – from classical literature, to great men of history, to the love of a father for his children, to erectile dysfunction – are tackled with the same combination of honesty, reflection and gentle good humour.
Montaigne’s achievement is in painting a picture of himself in all his facets and flaws and to extrapolate this into a view of humanity that is both critical and loving. Man, in Montaigne’s view, is not the rational being of classical thought, but an emotional, irrational and sociable animal that strives towards rationality.
This view also allows Montaigne to talk about strange people and strange customs with a rare understanding and tolerance for their differences. From the seemingly egocentric project of studying only himself, he manages to understand and sympathise with all people.
This large range of interesting, wide-ranging and funny essays leads to a conclusion that ought be learnt and shared today; a respect and admiration for that most common and wonderful things, an average life.
[ Favourite quote ] 'The most beautiful of lives to my liking are those which conform to the common measure, human and ordinate, without miracles though and without rapture.'
[ book info ] Equyem de Montaigne , Michel: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne.
(Book language: English (Translation)) Translated by M.A Screech.
Penguin Books ,
London , 1991
ISBN: 0140446044 .
No results found
No results found