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Essays (Montaigne)

Essays is the title given to a collection of 107 essays written by Michel de Montaigne that was first published in 1580. Montaigne essentially invented the literary form of essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic, of which the book contains a large number. EssaiisFrench for "trial" or "attempt".


Montaigne wrote in a kind of crafted rhetoric designed to intrigue and involve the reader, sometimes appearing to move in a stream-of-thought from topic to topic and at other times employing a structured style which gives more emphasis to the didactic nature of his work. His arguments are often supported with quotations from Hellenic Greek, Latin and Italian texts.


Montaigne's stated goal in his book is to describe man, and especially himself, with utter frankness. He finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. A typical quote is "I have never seen a greater monster or miracle than myself." He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disgust for man's pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for death.

Montaigne is disgusted with the violent and, in his opinion, barbaric conflicts between Catholics and Protestants of his time, and his writings show a pessimism and skepticism quite uncharacteristic for the Renaissance.

Overall, Montaigne was a strong supporter of humanism. He believed in God, and accepted Roman Catholicism, but declined to speculate in what sense particular historical events were influenced by God's providence.

He opposed the conquest of the New World, deploring the suffering it brought upon the natives.

Citing the case of Martin Guerre as an example, he believes that humans cannot attain certainty. His skepticism is best expressed in the long essay "An Apology for Raymond Sebond" (Book 2, Chapter 12) which has frequently been published separately. We cannot trust our reasoning because thoughts just occur to us: we don't truly control them. We do not have good reasons to consider ourselves superior to the animals. He is highly skeptical of confessions obtained under torture, pointing out that such confessions can be made up by the suspect just to escape the torture he is subjected to (the first known use of this argument against torture). In the middle of the section normally entitled "Man's Knowledge Cannot Make Him Good," he wrote that his motto was "What do I know?". The essay on Sebond ostensibly defended Christianity. However, Montaigne eloquently employed many references and quotes from classical Greek and Roman, i.e. non-Christian authors, especially the atomist Lucretius.

Montaigne considered marriage necessary for the raising of children, but disliked the strong feelings of romantic love as being detrimental to freedom. One of his quotations is "Marriage is like a cage; one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out."

In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge that is expected to be accepted uncritically. Montaigne's essay "On the Education of Children" is dedicated to Diana of Foix.

The remarkable modernity of thought apparent in Montaigne's essays, coupled with their sustained popularity, made them arguably the most prominent work in French philosophy until the Enlightenment. Their influence over French education and culture is still strong. The official portrait of former French president François Mitterrand pictured him facing the camera, holding an open copy of the Essays in his hands.


Montaigne heavily edited Essays at various points in his life. Sometimes he would insert just one word, while at other times he would insert whole passages. Many editions mark this with letters as follows:

  • A: passages written 1571-1580, published 1580
  • B: passages written 1580-1588, published 1588
  • C: passages written 1588-1592, published 1595 (posthumously)

Analysis of the differences and additions between editions shows how Montaigne's thoughts evolved over time. Not unremarkably, he does not seem to remove previous writings, even when they conflict with his newer views.

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Question:i need a couple examples of a short essay (50-100 words) about how you choose which activities are most important to you. Such as a foreign language club, a sport, pre-college programs, ar any other school club. Please use educated words! but if not its still ok! ha THANKS this is for a college APP so i wanted some good ideas of how i could make it sound good! It is important that i do well....its not that im lazy or anything just need ideas of how to word things

Answers:I agree with the last guy. Don't be lazy. 50-100 words is about 4 quality sentences. Just pick of few of these to talk about and explain why you feel that way. That should cover the word count that you're searching for. Type it up first and then come back with a question on how you can improve it. You're more likely to get people to help you that way. Blessings

Question:Please...I need it right now. A.S.A.P! Give me an essay with 100 words or more with an interresting theme or title or just simply give me a site that have examples of essays. I'll give 10 points for the best answer!

Answers:There are many reasons why students avoid homework, for example writing a one-hundred-word essay. For many of us it simply doesn t appeal to us to waste valuable time, which could be spent on questionnaire type websites or socializing with our friends. To many of us it seems that our teachers have nothing better to do than to set us the task of writing an essay which really couldn t be considered an essay as one-hundred words is roughly the amount you would expect to find in one standard paragraph. Why shouldn t teachers take into consideration the time we spend at school is more than enough and that we shouldn t have to do more at home. Word count: 114 Well to answer that is simple teachers spend so much time at home planning lessons and even more time at home marking work for their students. Students like you need to learn to get off your high horse and write your own essay if you want to call it that. After all a standard paragraph is between 8- 10 lines or 100- 150 words. Find a subject that interests you when you do you ll find it hard to limit yourself to only 100 words.

Question:100 words essay about any cute or interesting animal or bird....i'll give u some hints.. wat does it look lik?where does it live?what does it eat?is it domesticated?do humans make use of it?is it one of da endangered or threatened species?plz useing these hints only write da essay...plz

Answers:Intro: The Horned Puffin is also known as Fratercula corniculata. These are small, pelagic, birds that live on open seas, birds frequently found in Northern Alaska, Canada, Washington and sometimes even southern California. Puffins share the same features and markings as penguins, but don t let that confuse you, these animals are two different species and are not related. Puffins, unlike penguins, can fly. Often, they dive off cliffs to launch into flight. Classification: Fratercula corniculata are found in the Animalia Kingdom. They are a multicellular organism. Their Phylum is Chordata. We know this because a Fratercula corniculata has a tail and a complete digestive system. Because Puffins are vertebrates, have feathers giving them the ability to fly, and have a strong skeleton their class is Aves. Shorebirds, like puffins, are in the Charadriiformes Order. Their family is Alcidae, and their Genus is Fratercula. Lastly, the Horned Puffin s species, or scientific name, is Fratercula corniculata. Description: Horned Puffins have been nicknamed the Sea Parrot this is a very common name for this species. With their head, neck, throat, and upper body parts in black but their breast, stomach, and under their tail contrarily, are white in color. Their counter shading coloring has been used as camouflage. Their triangular bill is colorful with colors ranging from yellow to orange and white, they are rounded in shape, giving reasoning to their nickname. Males tend to have a brighter and bigger bill compared to females, to attract females in mating season. Females, on the other hand, have a sharper tale than males. They have webbed feet, which help them swim to catch prey. From above their black backs blend into the sea ground color, and from beneath their white stomach are confused with a reflection of the sun. These small animals often only grow to be about fifteen inches in length and fourteen to twenty one ounces in weight. Environment: Horned Puffins are pelagic birds, meaning open ocean. Puffins live near the coast and in the open ocean, they are mostly found perching off cliffs waiting to dive into the ocean for prey. They live in cold water about 32 to 68 Fahrenheit. Global Warming is drastically effecting Fratercula corniculata s population. With the temperature rising this puts a boundary on where they can prey in cold waters. Breeding areas and burrows can be washed away with a rise in water level. Their burrows are mainly in tight spaces including between cliffs. Community: Horned Puffins eat mostly small fish like sand eels, herring, hake, and capelin. They also eat zooplankton, squid and shrimp. This makes them secondary consumers in a food chain. In order catch their prey, Puffins dive up to eighty feet into the ocean, and flap their wings almost as if they were flying. They soar in the water catching fish in their bills. They uses their tongue and mouths to grab and pull the fish into their bill. Their bills are capable of holding large amounts of fish at a time. Other than the threat from their predators like sharks and large seabirds like the Great Black-Backed Gull, Puffins are also greatly effected by humans. Their populations have decreased greatly due to competition with fishermen for food, oil spills and pollution. In places like Iceland they still offer puffins as a meal. A whole population of puffins on Maine were practically wiped out do to hunting! Growth and Development: Horned Puffins can live up to twenty years of age! At the age of five, Puffins begin to breed. They only lay one egg a year, and make burrows, nesting areas, for their eggs. Using there feet and bills, Puffins dig burrows two to three feet long. Often these burrows are in hard to reach places like on cliffs and between rocks. Horned Puffins have one mate for life unless they can no longer produce an egg, they also use the same burrows each year. It takes anywhere from forty two to forty seven days for an egg to hatch. Horned Puffins have one mate for life unless they can no longer produce an egg, they also use the same burrows each year. Forty days after the egg is hatched, it is left alone by its parents. This makes it so the baby Puffin has to tend to itself, forcing it out into the ocean to find food. When breeding puffins show their love by rubbing their bills together. Other Facts: A Puffin s body movement can be harmless and harmful. Gaping, is when a puffin puffs out his or her chest looking bigger and tougher then what they are. This is hostile body movement that is looking for a fight. When fighting puffins interlock bills and follow into a full blown out fight. In the end a few innocent bystanders could be harmed along with the two enraged puffins. Some puffins may walk fast with their heads down, this is to show the others they are just walking through and mean no foul play. Hits Home: When you hear about the act of over hunting puffins, you probably don t think ab

Question:Could you answer my question? When I write essay, can I use [I,we,if] ? Some people and my English told me that to use the words in essay is will be low score essay. However, my friend sometimes writes down the words in essay and get high score of writing essay. Why? Am I misunderstanding?

Answers:Try to avoid first person pronouns (I,me, myself, we, us and ourselves) and second person (you, yourself and yourselves.) Whenever possible, you should use third person (he, she, it, himself, herself, itself, they, them and themselves) because it sounds more professional, which is needed in a school setting. If it is an opinion essay (i.e. Should teens require a 3.0 G.P.A. to get a driver's license?) then it is near impossible to not say "In my opinion..." besides that, use third person 99.9% of the time. If is not a pronoun, use it as much as needed, just don't be redundant. For example: Don't say: "You should stop smoking because..." Say: "Smokers should break their addictions because..."