Aristophanes: Wealth
Machiavelli: The Prince

Montaigne: Essays

Montaigne-DumonstierThe Essays (French: Essais) by Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592) inaugurated a literary form on their first publication in 1580. His  Essais or 'attempts' at various subjects were part of a larger project of-self reflection. His focus on the individual personality, in contrast to the ancient writers on whom he dew copiously, had a profound influence on later writers.

He knew Greek authors mainly though Latin and French, but his broad classical learning informed an eclectic philosophical world view which drew on Cicero, stoicism and skepticism. The latter was influence was strengthened by Montaigne's experiences as a nobleman during the French Wars of Religion. His belief in tolerance forms an important part of his legacy.

Free online texts

After Montaigne: Complete Essays, translated by Charles Cotton. HTML format.
Early Modern Texts: Essays, Bks 1-11, translated by Jonathan Bennett. PDF format. Modern English translation with some editorial alterations.
Gutenberg: Essays of Michel de Montaigne — Complete, translated by Charles Cotton. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats. . 
Internet Archive: The Essays of Michel de Montaigne, Vol I | Vol II. Translated by Charles Cotton and revised by William Carew Hazlitt. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
The Montaigne Project: Les Essais de Montaigne. Full Searchable HTML text in French.
Online Library of Liberty: Essays of Montaigne in 10 Volumes, translated by Charles Cotton. Multiple formats.
University of Adelaide (Internet Archive): The Essays of Montaigne, translated by Charles Cotton. EPUB, MOBI and HTML formats.
University of Oregon: Montaigne's Essays, translated by John Florio, 1603. PDF format.
Wikisource: Multiple French editions | English translation by John Florio, 1603 | English translation by Charles Cotton 1686, revised by William Carew Hazlitt in 1877.

Other Resources

BBC Radio 4 Great Lives: Michel de Montaigne. Matthew Parris with Robert Winston and Sarah Bakewell.
BBC Radio 4 In Our Time: Montaigne. Melvyn Bragg with David Wootton, Terence Cave and Felicity Green.
Internet Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
Librivox: Essays - public domain audiobooks, covering books 1-3 in English and book 1 in French so far.
The New Yorker: Montaigne on Trial, by Adam Gopnik, 16 January 2017. Guide to the Classics - Michel de Montaigne’s Essays, by Matthew Sharpe.
Open Culture: An Animated Introduction to Michel de Montaigne.
PhilPapers: Michel de Montaigne - bibliography with open access option.
Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy: Michel de Montaigne.
The Telegraph: Stephen Greenblatt on Shakespeare's debt to Montaigne, 7 June 2014.
University of Chicago: Montaigne Studies - an interdisciplinary forum.
Wikipedia: Essays (Montaigne)

Further reading at Tom's Learning Notes

Bloom's Western Canon: Montaigne's Essays is listed.

Selected works quoted or otherwise used by Montaigne

Hesiod: Works and Days.
Herodotus: The Histories.
Xenophon: Anabasis - Memorabilia - Cyropaedia - Hieron.
Plato: Laches - Hippias Major - Gorgias - Meno - Protagoras - Symposium - Phaedrus - Republic - Cratylus - Theaetetus - Critias - Timaeus - Laws - Alcibiades - Second Alcibiades.
Aristotle: Metaphysics - Nicomachean Ethics - Politics.
Demosthenes: On the Fallen at Chaeronea.
Plautus - Trinummus - Mustellaria.
Terence: Andria - Adelphi - Eunuch.
Lucretius: De Rerum Natura.
Catullus: Epigrams.
Caesar: The Gallic War.
Cicero: Academica - On the Nature of the Gods - Tusculan Disputations - De Oratore - De Clementia - On Duties - On Divination - On Ends - De Amicitia - De Senectute - Paradoxa - Epistulae ad Familiares.
Sallust: The Catiline Conspiracy - De Republica.
Diodorus Siculus.
Virgil: The Aeneid - Georgics - Eclogues - Bucolica.
Horace: Epistles - Odes - Epodes - Ars Poetica - Carmen Saeculare - Satires.
Livy: Histories.
Ovid: The Metamorphoses - Heroides - Tristia - Remedia AmorisAmores - Ex Ponto - Fasti.
Manilius: Astronomica.
Valerius Maximus: Memorabilia.
Seneca the Elder: Controversiae.
Quintus Curtius.
Persius: Satires.
Lucan: Pharsalia.
Seneca the Younger: Moral Letters - De Providentia - De Tranquillitate Animi - De Beneficiis The Trojan Women - Hercules Furens - Oedipus - Thyestes - Phoenissae - De Consolatione ad Albinam.
Petronius: Satyricon.
Pliny the Elder: Natural History.
Josephus: De Vita Sua.
Quintilian: Institutes of Oratory.
Silius Italicus: The Punic War.
Martial: Epigrams.
Pliny the Younger: Letters.
Tacitus: Annals- Dialogue on Orators - Germania.
Plutarch: The Moralia - Lives.
Suetonius: Lives of the Twelve Caesars.
Juvenal: Satires.
Appian: The Civil War.
Lucian: Satires.
Aulus Gellius: Attic Nights.
Sextus Empiricus: Outlines of Pyrrhonism.
Diogenes Laertius: Lives and Options of Eminent Philosophers.
Heliodorus of Emesa.
Ammianus Marcellinus: Roman History.
John Stobaeus: Sententiae.
Augustine: City of God - De Ordine.
Aquinas: Summa Theologica.
Joinville: History and Chronicle of St Louis.
Dante: The Divine Comedy.
Petrarch: Canzoniere.
Boccaccio: The Decameron.
Froissart: Chronicles.
Amadis de Gaule.
Ariosto: Orlando Furioso.
Heinrich Agrippa: De Vanitate.
Erasmus: Adages - Apophthegmata.
Guicciardini: History of Italy.
Marguerite de Navarre: The Heptameron.
Paulo Giovio.
Bouchet: Annals of Aquitaine.
André Tiraqueau: De legibus connubialibus
Lopez de Gomara: History of the Indies.
Ronsard: Remonstrance au peuple de France.
Torquato Tasso: Gerusalemme Liberata.
Jean Bodin: Methodus ad facilem historiarum cognitionem.
Justus Lipsius.
Goulart: History of Portugal.

Works influenced by Montaigne

William Shakespeare: The Tempest.
William Shakespeare: King Lear.
Francis Bacon: Essays.
Pascal: The Penseés.


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