As ought to be clear to anyone who reads the rest of the Essais, its main subject, despite the title, is not cannibals, or even the paradise in the Andes described in the second part of the essay, but rather how we ought to judge other cultures - and ourselves.We are only too prone, Montaigne suggests, to form hasty judgments based more on ignorance and prejudice than on experience and careful examination, and to assume that our own society provides a standard of excellence and civilization by which all others may be judged.It leads the reader through a dialectical experience in the course of which he entertains by turns several attitudes, each supplanting the earlier ones and leaving him at the end with an opinion precisely the reverse of that with which he started.
“A Malformed Child” opines that everything, even the strange or deformed, is part of Nature’s plan.
Three selections come from Book 3: “Repenting”, on the folly of apologizing for who you really are; “Physiognomy,” on the wars and plagues that visit Montaigne’s neighborhood; and “Experience,” which touts the virtues of common sense over fancy ideals.
His attitude is tolerant and open-minded for his era, and his ideas and insights remain relevant today.
The essays have entertained and enlightened readers worldwide for over 400 years.
Most of the essays discuss several topics, but each contains a central theme.
In Book 1, the first essay, “By Differing Means We Attain the Same End,” describes two ways to win mercy after defeat in battle.In the process, we learn his prescription for how to help a young person grow into someone who will lead a worthwhile life.“Friendship” explores the difference between ordinary companions and true friends.But if Montaigne's were just another essay on this by now well-worn theme, it would have only an historical interest for most readers today.It does more, however, than set out Montaigne's views on this topic.This 52-page guide for “Montaigne: Selected Essays” by Michel de Montaigne includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 18 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis.Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like The Wisdom of Nature and The Struggle for Virtue.comes from the pen of Michel de Montaigne, a 16th-century French jurist, advisor, and diplomat whose many adventures would make a compelling autobiography.Montaigne’s style is direct, lively, humorous, and sometimes bawdy and coarse.He wanders from topic to topic in the style of a lively conversation.The final section is the essay “Discourse on Voluntary Servitude,” a call to arms against tyranny that influences revolutionaries and philosophers for centuries.It also affects Montaigne’s thinking, as it comes from the man Montaigne loved most in the world, Étienne de la Boétie.