How To Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer by Sarah Bakewell

Michel de Montaigne was a 16th century French nobleman who was active in politics but mostly concerned with writing essays. He may have been the first blogger. Bakewell portrays Montaigne as having a modern sensibility, although he followed the Stoics and Epicureans in some ways. Montaigne wrote about all kinds of topics (including his kidney stones) and always tried to see both sides of an issue. He even tried to see life from his cat’s perspective. Much of his writing seems to have been thinking out loud as he mulled over his topics and went off on tangents. In that regard, she compares his essays to Tristram Shandy. I wonder if the actual essays are as good as advertised (all 1,000 pages of them).

Advertisements