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Quotations From MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE


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  • In the examples that I here bring in of what I have [read], heard, done or said, I have refrained from daring to alter even the smallest and most indifferent circumstances. My conscience falsifies not an iota; for my knowledge I cannot answer.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Power of the Imagination," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 20, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).
  • If to take up books were to take them in, and if to see them were to consider them, and to run through them were to grasp them, I should be wrong to make myself out quite as ignorant as I say I am.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).
  • And if nobody reads me, shall I have wasted my time, when I have beguiled so many idle hours with such pleasant and profitable reflections?
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Giving the Lie," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 18, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).

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  • There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," bk. 3, ch. 9, Essays (1588).

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  • Is it not better to remain in suspense than to entangle yourself in the many errors that the human fancy has produced? Is it not better to suspend your convictions than to get mixed up in these seditious and quarrelsome divisions?
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 500, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Futility of dogmatic philosophy.
  • I am not building here a statue to erect at the town crossroads, or in a church or a public square.... This is for a nook in a library, and to amuse a neighbor, a relative, a friend, who may take pleasure in associating and conversing with me.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Giving the Lie," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 18, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).

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  • The corruption of the age is produced by the individual contribution of each one of us; some contribute treachery, others injustice, irreligion, tyranny, avarice, cruelty, in accordance with their greater power; the weaker ones bring stupidity, vanity, passivity, and I am one of them.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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  • What are these essays but grotesque and monstrous bodies, pieced together of different members, without any definite shape, without any order, coherence, or proportion, except they be accidental?
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Friendship," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 28, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).

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  • If others examined themselves attentively, as I do, they would find themselves, as I do, full of inanity and nonsense. Get rid of it I cannot without getting rid of myself.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • If you press me to tell why I loved [my friend], I feel that this cannot be expressed, except by answering: Because it was he, because it was I.
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Friendship," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. I, ch. 28, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).

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