Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction [#658]
Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction [#658]


  • Serves as a comprehensive overview of Montaigne's life and writings
  • Illustrates features of Montaigne's prose that are often lost in translation, such as his reliance on image and metaphor, his biting humor and irony, and his colloquial bluntness
  • Concentrates on topics in the Essays that will be of greatest interest to present-day readers

The French author Michel de Montaigne is widely regarded as the founder and greatest practitioner of the personal essay. A member of the minor aristocracy, he worked as a judicial investigator, served as mayor of Bordeaux, and sought to bring stability to his war-torn country during the latter half of the sixteenth century. He is best known today, however, as the author of the Essays, a vast collection of meditations on topics ranging from love and sexuality to freedom, learning, doubt, self-scrutiny, and peace of mind. One of the most original books ever to emerge from Europe, Montaigne's masterpiece has been continuously and powerfully influential among writers and philosophers from its first appearance down to the present day. His extraordinary curiosity and discernment, combined with his ability to mix thoughtful judgment with revealing anecdote, make him one of the most readable of all writers.
In Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction, William M. Hamlin provides an overview of Montaigne's life, thought, and writing, situating the Essays within the arc of Montaigne's lived experience and focusing on themes of particular interest for contemporary readers. Designed for a broad audience, this introduction will appeal to first-time students of Montaigne as well as to seasoned experts and admirers. Well-informed and lucidly written, Hamlin's book offers an ideal point of entry into the life and work of the world's first and most extraordinary essayist.


1. Writing Oneself
2. Montaigne's Life
3. Learning for Living
4. Friendship, Family, Love
5. Free and Sociable Solitude
6. America
7. Providential Diversity
8. Skepticism
9. Death and the Good Life
Further Reading


William M. Hamlin is Professor of English at Washington State University and the Bornander Distinguished Professorship in the WSU Honors College.

"William Hamlin has given those first encountering Montaigne a rich and varied picture of the sixteenth-century author." -- Vittoria Fallanca, New College, Oxford, French Studies

"This compact new study by William Hamlin, professor of English at Washington State and specialist on the English reception of Montaigne, was written for the Oxford series of Very Short Introductions, which claims over 650 titles,...All students and teachers of Montaigne should be grateful to William Hamlin for the thorough justice he does to one of the greatest achievements of our literary tradition." -- Eric Macphail, Indiana University


ISBN : 9780190848774

William M. Hamlin
168 ページ
111 x 174 mm
Very Short Introductions





Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction [#658]

Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction [#658]

Montaigne: A Very Short Introduction [#658]