Reflections by the creator of the essay form, display the humane, skeptical, humorous, and honest views of Montaigne, revealing his thoughts on sexuality, religion, cannibals, intellectuals, and other unexpected themes. Included are such celebrated works as "On Solitude," "To Philosophize Is to Learn How to Die," and "On Experience."
A Wonderful Read
This, reader, is an honest book. It warns you at the outset that my sole purpose in writing it has been a private and domestic one. I have had no thought of serving you or my own fame; such a plan would be beyond my powers. I have intended it solely for the purpose of my relatives and friends so that, when they have lost me-which they soon must-they may recover some features of my character and disposition, and thus keep the memory they have of me more completely and vividly alive. Had it been my purpose to seek the world's favour, I should have put on finer clothes, and have presented myself in a studied attitude. But I want to appear in my simple, natural, and everyday dress, without strain or artifice; for it is myself that I portray. My imperfections may read to the life, and my natural form will be here in so far as respect for the public allows. Had my lot been cast among those peoples who are said to still live under the kindly liberty of nature's primal laws, I should, I assure you most gladly have painted myself complete and in all my nakedness. So, reader, I am myself the substance of my book, and there is no reason why you should waste your leisure on so frivolous and unrewarding a subject.