the leader of a new school in letters and morals. His book was different from all others which were at that date in the world. It diverted the ancient currents of thought into new channels. It told its readers, with unexampled frankness, what its writer's opinion was about men and things, and threw what must have been a strange kind of new light on many matters but darkly understood. Above all, the essayist uncased himself, and made his intellectual and physical organism public property. He took the world into his confidence on all subjects. His essays were a sort of literary anatomy, where we get a diagnosis of the writer's mind, made by himself at different levels and under a large variety of operating influences.
Of all egotists, Montaigne, if not the greatest, was the most fascinating, because, perhaps, he was the least affected and most truthful. What he did, and what he had professed to do, was to dissect his mind, and show us, as best he could, how it was made, and what relation it bore to exte
This new translation of Montaigne's immortal Essays received great acclaim when it was first published in The Complete Works of Montaigne in the 1957 edition. The New York Times said, "It is a matter for rejoicing that we now have available a new translation that offers definite advantages over even the best of its predecessors," and The New Republic stated that this edition gives "a more adequate idea of Montaigne's manner, his straight and unpretentious style, than any of the half-dozen previous English translations."
In his Essays Montaigne warns us from the outset that he has set himself "no goal but a domestic and private one"; yet he is one author whose modernity and universality have been acclaimed by each age since he wrote. Probing into his emotions, attitudes, and behavior, Montaigne reveals to us much about ourselves.
As new editions of the Essays were published during his lifetime, Montaigne interpolated many new passages—often of considerable length. This volume indicates the strata of composition, so that the reader may follow the development of Montaigne's thought over the years. The detailed index provides a convenient means of locating the many famous passages that occur throughout the work.