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.
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Michel Eyquem de Montaigne is one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance, known for popularising the essay as a literary genre and is popularly thought of as the father of Modern Skepticism.
“The Cannibals” suggests that so-called “barbaric” tribes have lessons to teach Europeans.
“Democritus and Heraclitus” finds common cause with famous pessimists.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.“The Power of the Imagination” shows how superstitions can kill, self-consciousness can defeat, and a doctor’s reassurance can cure.“The Education of Children” lists Montaigne’s surprisingly modern ideas for how kids should be taught.The second essay, “Idleness,” explores the problem of a wandering mind.The third, “Through Philosophy We Learn How to Die,” suggests a proper attitude toward death.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.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.