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Michel de Montaigne

(28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592)

Michel de Montaigne
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Michel Eyquem de Montaigne was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre, and commonly thought of as the father of modern skepticism. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual exercises with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translated literally as "Attempts" or "Trials") contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers the world over, including René Descartes, Blaise Pascal, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, William Hazlitt, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Friedrich Nietzsche, Stefan Zweig, Eric Hoffer,... more »

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Quotations

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  • ''My art and profession is to live.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. Essays, bk. 2, ch. 6 (1580-1588), trans. by John Florio (1603).
  • ''To say less of yourself than is true is stupidity, not modesty. To pay yourself less than you are worth is cowardice and pusillanimity.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Practice," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 6, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).
  • ''All opinions in the world agree in this, that pleasure is our end, although they differ as to the means of attaining it.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "That to Philosophize Is to Learn to Die," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 20, Simon Millanges, ...
  • ''Vainglory and curiosity are the two scourges of our soul. The latter leads us to thrust our noses into everything, and the former forbids us to leave anything unresolved and undecided.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "It is Folly to Measure the True and False By Our Own Capacity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch....
  • My trade and my art is living. He who forbids me to speak about it according to my sense, experience, and practice, let him order the architect to speak of buildings not according to himself but accor...
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Practice," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 6, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).
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