Saturday, January 28, 2017

Another contrarian view …

… The Enduring Wisdom of Montaigne - WSJ. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

Philippe Desan’s “Montaigne: A Life” is animated by the purpose of detonating this carefully cultivated image. It is an effort at disenchantment. Montaigne’s informality and transparency, in Mr. Desan’s telling, were rhetorical strategies and triumphs of artifice. Montaigne’s exploration of the private self was not a natural impulse but an adjustment required by the defeat of his considerable political ambitions. Previous biographers, Mr. Desan argues, have piously replicated the self-portrait of the “Essays.” He seeks to drag the solitary genius back into his social milieu, exposing his conventionality.

Sounds like more academic BS. I prefer to take Montaigne at his word. Nor do I think he was "the servile conformist to settled dogmas." I think his Catholic piety was genuine.

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