Michel de Montaigne
Michel Eyquem de Montaigne or more simply Michel de Montaigne , (born the February 28th 1533, with the castle of Montaigne with Saint-Michel-with-Montaigne, the Dordogne) - died the September 13rd 1592 with the Castle of Montaigne, in the small village of Saint-Michel-with-Montaigne, in the Dordogne) was a philosophical humanistic, a Moraliste and a Politician French of the Renaissance. He is the author of the Essais , first work of this kind of the modern time.
Origin and studiesMichel de Montaigne is resulting from a family of traders of Bordeaux anoblie two generations before. Its back grandfather, Ramon Eyquem, had acquired in 1477 of a strong house of the 14th century, Saint-Michel-with-Montaigne, in the Périgord, and thus reached the noble statute of “Lord of Montaigne” which it transmitted to his children and grandchildren.
Among those, Pierre Eyquem is the first to come to settle in a permanent way in the residence périgourdine which it makes arrange and strengthen. He regularly affirms despite everything in his work like Gascon, identity then attached to the Of Bordeaux one. He had made the war in Italy, and married in 1528 Antoinette of Magnifying glasses, girl of a Toulouse merchant and origin Marrane. The first two children of the couple die in low age; Michel, born the February 28th 1533, is the first which survives. He will be the elder one of seven brothers and sisters.
Pierre Eyquem, who is named mayor of Bordeaux in 1544, gives to his oldest son an education in the principles humanistic S. According to Montaigne, it is sent as a nurse “ to a poor village as of his ” to accustom “ with lowest there and common way of living ” ( Essais , III, 13). To the three years age, it can turn over to the castle. One gives him then like tutor a German Médecin named Hortanus, which has as an order to speak in Latin Michel only in , rule to which must also yield the remainder of the family. At thirteen years, Michel de Montaigne, knowing only Latin, is provided education for with the Collège of Guyenne to Bordeaux, high place of humanism of Bordeaux, where he learns the French, the Greek , the Rhétorique and the Théâtre. He shines there quickly by his eloquence, his ease to practice the tournament rhetoric and by his taste for the Théâtre.
It is not known if it is with Toulouse or Paris that it continues, probably between 1546 and 1554, the essential studies of right to its future activities. In 1557, one finds the young person Montaigne adviser with the Cour of the Assistances of Périgueux which is then joined together with the Parlement of Bordeaux. It exerts there thirteen years its functions which are worth to him several missions at the court of France.
Youth and the first worksThe September 23rd 1565, it marries Francoise of Chassaigne, girl of the one of her colleagues at the Parliament of Bordeaux, Joseph of Chassaigne (1515 - 1572), rider, knight, Sudan of Pressac, lord of Javerlhac, adviser of the King at the Parliament in 1538 and 1543, president at the Parliament of Bordeaux in 1569. From twelve years its junior, Francoise gives him six girls, of which only one - Léonor de Montaigne - survived. It would seem that the Mariage did not have a great importance in the emotional life of Montaigne. The husbands made room with share, which was current at the time, and Montaigne, worried by other activities, left readily the management of its properties to his wife. On the other hand, very with the fact of Greek humanities and consequently of the Banquet of Plato, he was faithful friend of Etienne of Boétie: in the beginning, he had written the Essais like ECRIN for the Discours of the voluntary constraint of his best friend, who spoke there in praise of the friendship against the corruption of the capacity and the Courtisans.
Admiror of Virgile and Cicéron, it is a humanistic which takes the man, and in particular itself, like object of study in his principal work, the Essais , undertaken starting from 1571 at the 37 years age. It announces there “ I want that one sees me there in my simple, natural and ordinary way, without application and artifice: because it is me whom I paint ” (“Foreword”). The project of Montaigne was of raising the masks, to exceed the artifices to be discovered itself.
Work without precedent in its sincerity and its personal savor, it is that of a skeptic for which are to be banished the too fixed doctrines and the blind certainty. Its influence was colossal on the French, Western and even world Philosophie.
During the time of the wars of religion, Montaigne, itself Catholic, acted like a regulator, respected by the catholic Henri III and the Protestant Henri de Navarre, to whom bound it a solid friendship. In 1577, this last, then only king de Navarre, names - by letters patent - Montaigne gentleman of its Room .
Of 1580 with 1581, it travelled in France, Germany, Austria, Suisse and Italy, holding a detailed newspaper which described the differences in an area crossed to the other and which was published only in 1774 under the title of " Newspaper of voyage" .
Montaigne with the Town hall of BordeauxWhile it was with Rome, in 1581, it learned that it had been elected Maire by the Jurat S of Bordeaux. His/her father Pierre Eyquem had already fulfilled this function in this city that Michel de Montaigne served until in 1585: he tried to moderate there the relations between Catholique S and Protesting S. Towards the end of its mandate, the Peste prevails in its city. When the new king Henri IV, with which Montaigne had always maintained a bond of friendship, invites this last to come to his court like advising, the philosopher declines this generous proposal, consequently refusing to play the role which Plato had held to advise the tyrant Denys of Syracuse: I never received quite unspecified liberality of the kings, either that asked nor deserved, and did not receive no payment of the steps which I employed with their service (...) I am, Lord, as rich as I wish myself.
He continued to extend and revise the Essais until his death of an ulcer to the throat on September 13rd 1592, with the Château of Montaigne.
Its workThe style of Montaigne lively and is freed: it circles from one thought to another, “with jumps and gambades”. Nevertheless, the style of Montaigne is explained much by the fact why it dictated its thoughts, which can explain this so particular tone and that one particularly finds in the " Essais". Its considerations are permanently supported quotations of traditional Greeks and Romans. He is explained of it by uselessness “ repeating more badly than another succeeded in telling better front him ”. Anxious to avoid the pedantry, it avoids nevertheless each time pointing out the author or quoted work, in any event known at its time. The future commentators of its work will undertake some.
He declares that its goal is “ to describe the man, and more particularly itself (...) and one finds as much difference of us with ourself than of us with others ”. It estimates that variability and inconstancy are two of its characteristics first. “ I did not see, says it, a more large monster or miracle that myself ”. It describes its poor memory, its capacity to arrange conflicts without implying itself there émotionnellement, its dislike for the men continuing the celebrity and her attempts to be detached from the things of the world to prepare with death. Its famous currency “ Which do I know? ” seems the starting point of all its philosophical astonishment.
In 1569, it publishes in Paris, at Michel Sonnius, the “ natural Théologie of Raymond Sebon ” in whom it tries “ to show the truth of the Christian and catholic faith ”, by using a literary process letting believe that it was about a translation of the Latin in French.
It shows its aversion for violence and the fratricidal conflicts between catholic S and protesting S (but also between Guelfes and Gibelins) which had started to be massacred jointly with the appearance of the Renaissance, disappointing the hope that the humanistic S had based on it. For Montaigne, it is necessary to avoid the reduction of complexity to the binary opposition, with the obligation to choose its camp, to privilege the withdrawal skeptic like answer to the Fanatisme. In one of the most beautiful texts which were written about it - a passage of the last book than it wrote little time before giving itself death to the Brésil, in 1942 - Stefan Zweig said of him:
That in spite of its infallible clearness, in spite of the pity which upset it until the bottom of its heart, it had to attend this appalling relapse of humanism in bestiality, with one of these sporadic accesses of madness which seize sometimes humanity (...) it is there what makes the true tragedy of the life of Montaigne.
The humanistic ones had believed to find in the Nouveau World the Jardin of Eden, whereas Montaigne deplores that the conquest of this one brings sufferings to those which one tries to reduce in Esclavage. “Cheap victories. ” It was horrified more by the Torture than its similar inflicted with living beings than by the Cannibalisme of these Indiens than one called wild , and it admired them for the privilege which they gave to their chief to go the first to the war .
As much of men of his time (Érasme, Thomas More, Guillaume Budé…), Montaigne noted a cultural, grateful Relativisme that the laws, morals and the religions of the various cultures, though often extremely various and moved away, have all some base. “ not to change a received law easily ” constitutes one of the most incisive chapters of the Essais . Over all, Montaigne is a large partisan of the Humanisme. If he believes in a God, he refuses with any speculation on his nature and, because it me appears in its contradictions and its variations, he thinks that he must be stripped beliefs and prejudices which block it.
That does not like one day nature to open his center to us and to make us see with clean the means and the control of its movements, and prepare our eyes there! O God! Which abuses, which mécomptes we would find in our poor science.
He regards the marriage as a need to allow the education of the children, but thinks that the romantic love is a breach of liberty of the individual: The marriage is a cage; the birds outwards despair to enter there, those inside despair of in sortir.
- its philosophy
“That do I know? ” is a reformulation of the Socratique currency: “I know that I do not know anything” This learned ignorance is the starting point of a nondogmatic philosophic attitude So like Socrate, Montaigne turns to the maieutic one to accompany that which starts a search of identity and to make emerge in him freedom.
It is prolonged in a skepticism, according to this time the way of Pyrrhon and its successors: Since we are sometimes misled by our directions and our judgments, we should not trust there us. In addition, possible confusion between the madness, the dream and reality do not enable us to guarantee the value of our perceptions. It is thus advisable to suspend our judgment as for information transmitted by the directions: We must remain without opinion (# to affirm or deny) => to doubt the identity between the representation of the world that we are formed from our feel and reality. It is, by ex, impossible to affirm if the reality of an apple corresponds to the vision that we have some, with its taste, with its touch; which vary in time and according to the people… We should not grant more confidence to our reason insofar as our thoughts appear to us sometimes independently of our will. It is thus necessary to cease accepting the certainty of our scientific reasoning `'. “That does not like one day nature to open his center to us and to make us see with clean the means and the control of its movements, and prepare our eyes there! O God! Which abuses, which mécomptes we would find in our poor science”. We do not have thus reason to feel us higher than the animals.
Montaigne is based on Platonicienne philosophy to relativize the importance of the dead one: “to philosophize is to learn how to die”. But, it is the Epicurienne morals which it chooses to follow: to limit its desires makes it possible to satisfy them more easily. The end of the disorder caused by the desire is the definition even pleasure, which opens the way with happiness, according to Epicure According to Plato and Aristote, he thinks that “the future of the State depends on the dicipline of childhood”. But, he criticizes the political model preached in the Republic in the 30è chap of the Tests. Following Machiavel and before Montesquieu, he advises to observe before acting as policy. “Not to change a received law easily” one of the most incisive chapters of the Tests constitutes.
> the laws, morals and the religions of the various cultures have all some base.
With the proviso of not seeking to acquire the capacity, this pragmatism is source of Tolerance. - Nun: the State should not impose a religious model (context of W of rel) - cultural in addition: the Européenne culture is not better than that of the Indians (chap 30
Lastly, Montaigne preaches a teaching based on concrete examples and the experiment, rather than the abstract knowledge accepted without any criticism. “better a head well done is worth than a quite full head” in order to form the judgment
Some famous quotationsAll the quotations which follow are extracted from the Essais of Michel de Montaigne :
“true freedom, it is to be able to make any thing on oneself”. ( Book III, chapter 12 )
- “I like better to forge my heart that to furnish it”.
- “Which knows itself, knows also the others, because each man carries the whole form of the human condition”. ( Book III, chapter 2 )
- “the noble souls are those which have more variety and of flexibility”. ( Book III, chapter 3 )
- “It does not see hearts, or extremely rare, which into growing old do not feel the sourness and mildewed”. ( Book III, chapter 2 )
- “old age attaches us more wrinkles in the spirit than to the face”. ( Book III, chapter 2 )
- “the most subtle madness is made more subtle wisdom”. ( Book II, chapter 12 )
- “I saw in my time hundred craftsmen, hundred plowmen, wiser and happier than of the vice-chancellors of the university”.
- “To think, it is to be in the search of a headland”.
- “the right, it is initially art to fill the interstices. ” ( Book I, chapter 43 )
- “It is not any so soft consolation in the loss of our friends but that which brings science to us nothing not to have forgotten to say to them, and to have had with them perfect and whole communication”. ( Book II, chapter 8 )
- “Which wants to cure ignorance, it should be confessed. Iris is girl of Thaumantis. Admiration is base of any philosophy, the enquiry progress, ignorance the end”. ( Book III, chapter 11 )
- “the perfidy can be in some excusable case: at the time only it is it, that it gets busy to punish and betray the perfidy. It is enough treasons not only refused, but punished by those in favor which they had been undertaken”. ( Book III, chapter 1 )
- “Our reasons and our speeches human, it is like the heavy and sterile matter: the grace of God is the form; it is it which gives the way and the price to it”. ( Book II, chapter 12 )
- “the laws are maintained in credit not because they are right, but because they are laws”. ( Book III, chapter 13 )
- “I have more insult while lying than I do not make any with that to which I lie”. ( Book II, chapter 17 )
- “Nobody is free to say twaddle. Misfortune is to say them curiously” ( Livre III, chapter 1 )
- “habituation is the one second nature, and not less powerful”.
- “I painted not the estre. I painted the passage: not a passage of old in other, or, like dict the people, of seven in seven years, but of day in day, minute in minute” ( Book III, chapter 2 )
- “I show any violence in the education of a tender heart, which one draws up for the honor, and freedom. There is I do not know what of servile in the rigor, and the constraint: and hold that what cannot be made by the reason, and prudence, and never addresses, is not done by the force”. ( Book II, chapter 8 )
- “it (the desire of the pleasure) goes up to the average area, (in the middle of the body) where it is planted a long time, and there produced, according to moy, only the true pleasures of the body life”. ( Book II, chapter 2 )
- “most useful and honourable science and occupation with a woman, it is the science of the household”. ( Book III, chapter 9 )
- “the world is only a perennial branloire”.
- “It is little of men who dared to highlight the secret requests that they make with God”. ( Book I, chapter 26 )
- “the premeditation of death is premeditation of freedom. The knowledge to die frees us from any subjection and constraint”.
- “the Every day goes to death, the last arrives there”. ( Livre I, chapter 20 )
- “If one presses to me to say why I liked it, I feel that can be expressed only while answering: " Because it was him, because it was moi." ” ( Evoking its friendship with Etienne of Boétie - Ier Book, chapter 28 )
- “To think by oneself it is especially the surest way to think at the same time all alone and like everyone, to think by others. ”
- “Any science is detrimental with that which with the science of kindness. ” ( Book I, chapter 25 )
- “the true mirror of our speeches is the course of our lives. ” ( Livre I, chapter 25 )
- “Which fears to suffer, it suffers already from what it fears. ” ( Livre III, chapter 13 )
- “the ambition is not a defect of petis compaignons, and such efforts that the nostres” ( Livre III, chapter 10 )
- “Then that it is not by conscience, at least by ambition let us refuse the ambition; Desdaignons ceste hunger of re-elected and honor, low and belistress, which us it faict coquiner of any kind of people” ( Book III, chapter 10 )
- " Each one calls cruelty what is not sound usage" ('Book II )
- " (...) I would also like that one was careful to choose a driver to him, which had the head well done rather that well pleine." ( Book I, chapter 25 )
Tests of Michel Lord of Montaigne . In Paris at Abel Langelier, the first pillar of the big room of the Palate. 1595. Edition new, found after the deceds of Autheur, reveüe & increased by luyd' a third more than with the preceding Impressions. The edition was divided between the Abel editors Angelier (principal editor) and Michel Sonnius, Paris, Abel Angelier, 1598. This edition of 1598 is very rare and important because it comprises a foreword in which Miss de Gournay retracts that of 1595 and a foreword of Montaigne " corrected with the last hand of the author ". It presents the text of the " Tests " regarded as final by Marie de Gournay, because corrected in 1596 at the time of its stay to the castle of Montaigne, on the specimen autograph different from the specimen of Bordeaux.
- 1723, New edition by Pierre Coste, which gives five editions of the Tests between 1724 and 1745. After its death in 1747, they are reprinted eight times until in 1801. Coste endeavoured to make the text of Montaigne more exact and more accessible. It followed the edition Angelier of 1595 not without correcting the faults of them; it joined accompanying notes and documents there, in particular of the letters of Montaigne, of which the number increases with the wire of the editions. The second edition given by Pierre Coste, is better than the first of London 1724, because it contains in more the Epistle dedicatoire adressee has Richelieu by Miss de Gournay, the foreword of Miss de Gournay, and the life of Montaigne , two epitaphs which had never appeared; and the 29 sonnets of Etienne of Boétie which were only in the edition Angelier of 1588.
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