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How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer (Englisch) Taschenbuch – 7. Februar 2011

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Produktbeschreibungen

Pressestimmen

"With this splendidly conceived and exquisitely written double biography - of both Montaigne the man and Montaigne the book - Sarah Bakewell should persuade another generation to fall in love with Montaigne" (Sunday Times)

"How to live is a superb, spirited introduction to the master, and should have its readers rushing straight to the essays themselves" (Adam Thorpe Guardian)

"Sarah Bakewell has written a marvellously confident and clear introduction to Montaigne...a rare achievement. Sarah Bakewell deserves congratulations for opening Montaigne to new readers so very appealingly" (Evening Standard)

"Illuminating and humane book... It's rare to come across a biographer who remains so deliciously fond of her subject... How to Live will delight and illuminate" (Independent)

"Bakewell writes with verve. This is an intellectually lively treatment of a Renaissance giant and his world" (Daily Telegraph)

Werbetext

Part biography, part self-help, an original, funny and moving portrait of Montaigne, Renaissance nobleman and essayist.

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Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Zunächst einmal: Sarah Bakewell schreibt so klug und hinreißend, dass ich von ihr selbst ein Buch über Katzenfutter oder Fußpilz mit Genuss lesen würde. Sie leistet in diesem Buch genau das, was man bei einer Annäherung an Montaigne, oder eines Neubeginns oder einer vertieften Beschäftigung braucht, nämlich Klarheit, Ordnung und empathische Begleitung des Montaigne-Lesers ohne trockene akademische Belehrung. Die methodische Vorgehensweise, den reichen und "flirrenden" Inhalt der Essais von Montaigne, die biographischen und historischen Umstände und die verwickelte Rezeptions- und Editionsgeschichte der Essais in zwanzig Kapitel mit lebensnahen Titeln und roten Fäden darzubieten, ist überaus gelungen. Dieses ausgezeichnete Buch wäre für sich, ohne weitere Lektüre von Montaigne, schon ein erhellender Genuss. Umso erfreulicher ist, dass es Lust darauf macht, sich den Essais - erneut oder zum ersten Mal - zu widmen und so gut vorbereitet zu sein. Absolut empfehlenswert!
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The book explains very nicely Montaigne's ideas in the context of his life and in the context of 16th century french society in which he was living. Very nice to read as a recreational book.
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 von 5 Sternen 185 Rezensionen
10 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen French onion soup for the soul 21. Juni 2016
Von James - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
This remarkable book is the perfect primer on the most noble everyman soul-searcher Michael de Montaigne. Ms. Bakewell honors her own love of the16th-century founder of the personal essay by giving readers a carefully rendered, diligently sourced guided tour of Montaigne's timeless accounting of his own heart and soul. How To Live is mostly about just how to be in life and in the world. It loses nothing in translation nor across the passing of 500 years since Montaigne wrote his famous collection of essays. . With war and plague literally at his gate, Montaigne recused himself from the outside turmoil and set out to study his own hopes and misgivings. Bakewell shows his legacy is nothing short of a road atlas for the human condition through the ages. Bakewell's digest, in words and pictures, is an inspiration for those who would honestly take the same path today.
Readers should be advised that Montaigne's efforts are not of the same sort as the Facebook and Tweet pronouncements of our selfie-centered times. Mountain's careful reconnoiter of his own life and times that Bakewell has selected here depicts a person determined to know himself in the world, not to show himself off to the world.
Perhaps most refreshing of all Montaigne's enviable traits that Bakewell takes particular effort to point out is his abiding caution to readers of his essays that his opinions are his alone and as such contain the caveat that he could be wrong. What a thing to read in our current age of heralding the know-it-all who most often knows the least of all.
6 von 6 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen How to ENJOY Your Intellectual Life: Read this book 13. November 2016
Von An Alexandria music lover - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Sarah Bakewell is a genius. In this book she gives us a moving biography of Montaigne, a history of the genesis and contents of his marvelous essays, an introduction to the history of editing his great masterpiece, and a lively and fascinating narrative of informed and popular responses to his book in successive eras. Montaigne very much feels like real presence in this book, one with a distinctive personality that is vividly represented by the author. One feels that Bakewell, along with hundreds or thousands of earlier readers have developed a personal relationship with the great writer, and Bakewell helps explain why this in the case even though an overwhelming share of readers of his essays of course have had no contact with him, except through his essays. Bakewell also does a wonderful and interesting job of explaining the very different critical reception Montaigne's essays received among his contemporaries and in succeeding generations of readers, both in France and elsewhere.

The ingenuity of the biography helps explain why critical reception of Bakewell's own book was so positive. But the plain fact is that Bakewell is also a stylish writer, capable of holding our fascinated (and occasionally amused) attention, even when she is discussing the minutiae of successive editions or of obscure editorial quarrels. The book was warmly recommended to me by a friend who said flatly it was the best book he'd read in a year or, indeed, in any recent year. You'll probably find this kind of enthusiasm in many of the Amazon reviews. If you're interested in philosophy or in a charismatic writer and thinker in a long bygone, tumultuous era, and if you care about artful construction and stylish writing, this might be the book for you. It certainly was for me.

P.S., I simultaneously read the Kindle version of the book and listened to the Audible version beautifully read by Davina Porter.
2 von 2 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen A Fine Biography of a Very Important Writer 8. Februar 2017
Von Richard B. Schwartz - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Taschenbuch Verifizierter Kauf
Sarah Bakewell’s biography of Montaigne won the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography in 2010. It is a fine book, one that will engage the attention of all readers interested in the subject. That subject, of course, is very wide-ranging. Inspired by the philosophers of antiquity, Montaigne is one of the principal French writers of the Renaissance. To a degree he created the ‘essay’ form and his work has been pivotal for later thinkers. John Florio’s English translation was taught—in my day—as a work of literature itself and it helped to popularize a writer ‘adopted’ by the English as one of their own, at least in interests, spirit and unique personality. Montaigne was claimed by the romantics; he influenced Nietzsche, heartened the postmodernists and remains a writer of global importance and influence.

SB’s biography answers the question, ‘how to live?’ in twenty chapters, each of them keyed to a theme in Montaigne’s work. Hence, chapter 9: “Q. How to live? A. Be convivial: live with others.” The themes, however, do not trump the biography. This is not an endless examination of thematic content with an occasional look at the events in Montaigne’s life. It is a systematic biography held together by thin thematic divisions.

It is also a very learned biography, expanding at length, e.g., on the civil wars of the period, the driving ideologies, weaponry and specific details, both personal and political. It studies, e.g., the manner in which the texts of the Essays have come down to us, (what we would call) the copy texts, the emendations, the condensations, and so on. There is comparatively little on the content of the Essays themselves, ‘comparatively’ being the operative word. We learn a great deal about Montaigne’s classical influences, the nature of his pyrhonnism, the dimensions of his political associations, his personal relationships, his estate, its winemaking, and so on, but the only essay that is discussed at some length is (as one would expect) the longest of the essays, the Apology for Raymond Sebond.

It is sometimes said that the first requirement for a great biography is the author’s love for her subject (balanced, always, by a willingness to speak the truth, wherever its elements might fall). SB clearly admires Montaigne and wishes that today’s thinkers, writers and politicians (Montaigne served in all three capacities) would read him, be inspired by him and take lessons from him.

The writing is crisp and clear, direct and candid. While it is undergirded by a great deal of scholarship that scholarship does not drag the book down and bore the reader with tedious details. It contains a bibliography, index and series of endnotes, sufficient to guide the reader to other texts and explore/verify issues that have come under question.

The book is very much like its subject—a pleasant, human and humane read that takes on difficult subjects with a light touch and details experiences that will find echoes in the reader’s own heart.

Highly recommended.
1 von 1 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen An examination of life; a mirror 4. März 2017
Von B. Hooven - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
A little dry in the middle but both ends were thought provoking and enjoyable, so much so that I rate it 5 stars. We should all examine ourselves, taking a practical look at our lives like Montaigne did his. I'm not a wealthy nobleman but we're not so different. One thing we all share is the reality that our time is short. We do well to discover what this is all about as quickly as possible. Reading this book has helped to focus me, to understand mine a little more.
3 von 3 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This is a book I would have wanted to write myself, if I had the skill. 6. Januar 2014
Von Robert S. Hanenberg - Veröffentlicht auf Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verifizierter Kauf
Michel de Montaigne (pronounced MON TANE in English and MON TAN YAH in French) was a French essayist who lived from 1533 -1592. He was a member of the provincial nobility, for a while the mayor of Bordeaux and at times a friend of the powerful Admiral Coligny, who sent him on missions to the King. Mainly, however, he is known for the essays he wrote at his country estate.

One factor that shaped his life was that his body produced kidney stones, which at the time were not only grotesquely painful but also potentially fatal (if you have never seen a kidney stone, there is a photograph in the book of what these agents of torture look like, little spheres with sharp spikes which are emitted, if you are lucky, through the penis). Knowing that he might die at any moment in agony, as ultimately he did, shaped his philosophy.

His philosophy was to be moderate, to be ordinary and to appreciate the smaller things of life. He was not consistent, not methodical, not heroic, not pretentious, not prudish and not serious about life. Nor were his essays any of these things. He is supposed to have been influenced by certain Greek and Roman philosophers, but he reminds me a bit of Leopold Bloom in James Joyce's Ulysses. During a period when Catholics and Protestants were murdering each other like Sunnis and Shias today, he tried to persuade people not to take religion so seriously, and to grant other people their humanity. His greatest gift was the gift of empathy.

This book is about his life, his works and the period in which he lived. There is a description of what it was like to travel from Bordeaux to Rome. At the gates of Rome Montaigne's baggage was searched for subversive materials. The author compares this to what it was like to travel to Moscow before the end of communism. There is a description of the horrible religious wars that took place during Montaigne's lifetime. There is also a description of the death of Henry III. Henry was stabbed to death by a vengeful Catholic priest while he (Henry) sat on the toilet. The question arises, how did the priest get in the bathroom? Apparently, it was the custom for royalty to receive visitors while sitting on the toilet. The ways of the exalted are mysterious to ordinary people like you and me.

The book also traces how Montaigne's essays were well received during his lifetime, and how future generations shaped him in accordance with their own spirits. The Catholic Church proscribed his works, then relented. He was made into a precursor of the Enlightenment by people of the Enlightenment and the precursor of Romanticism by romantics, and so on.

This book, like the essays of Montaigne themselves, is anything but linear. Like the essays, it takes playful twists and turns, doubling back, folding in on itself, telling parts of the same story sometimes in three different places. Sometimes it tells a story for no other reason than that it is a good story. For instance, the author says that since Montaigne is not alone at the pinnacle of French literature as Shakespeare is with English literature, Montaigne has never attracted people who deny that Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare's plays. But then, immediately contradicting herself, just like Montaigne would have done, the author proceeds to tell the story of one 19th century crank who believed that not only did Francis Bacon write the plays of Shakespeare but also the essays of Montaigne, Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy and all of Christopher Marlowe's plays. Such asides have very little to do with the theme of the book, but that is typically how Montaigne himself would have written.

The author says that many people love Montaigne because he reminds them of themselves. So too with this book. It is a book which I would have wanted to have written myself, if I had had the skill. It also made me go out and buy French and English texts of Montaigne, and a CD of someone reading some of his essays.
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