Montaigne Among the Moderns: Receptions of the Essais
Berghahn Books, 1994 - 343 pages
." . . an original book that attempts and succeeds in understanding the idea of Modernity from the reworking of Montaigne's Essais. - Philippe Desan ." . . a most significant contribution to Montaigne studies . . . thoroughly researched, well conceived and composed . . . which will reach out and be of interest to a wider audience than scholars and student of French thought and culture." - Marcel Tetel Montaigne is one of the most cross-cultural writers ever - both in the assimilation of writings from other cultures into his own work and in the subsequent translations, critical receptions, and creative adaptations of the Essais by other writers throughout the world for the last four hundred years. His work is generally considered as exemplary of the European Renaissance, yet also demonstrates a remarkable relevance to the literary and intellectual activity at the present time. However, whereas there has been an abundance of commentary on Montaigne during the first centuries after his death, much less attention has been paid to his impact on writers of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, particularly those outside France. This study redresses the imbalance. By establishing a stylistic and ideological relationship between Montaigne's work and that of such writers as Emerson, Nietzsche, Pater, Woolf, and Sollers, we not only gain a greater appreciation of the richness of the Essais, but also of some of the roots of modernist and postmodernist writing. Dudley M. Marchi teaches French and Comparative Literature at North Carolina State University.
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