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Reading the world – visiting Montaigne’s Tower

November 6, 2013


Thank you very much to Greg Lennes for alerting me to this beautiful photographic blog by Peter Webscott about a visit to Montaigne’s tower. And of course thank you even more to the author/photographer – it’s a really wonderful post, which I wanted to share here.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS IS NOT MY OWN POST!  Follow the link above to view Peter’s Wordscene site properly – believe me, it’s worth the effort.


Montaigne's Tower

How to live? We all have to find our own answer to that question, but part of the enjoyment of the journey is looking at how others deal with it.

The sixteenth century French writer Michel de Montaigne is an interesting case. Withdrawing from public life to his estate near Bordeaux at the age of 38 he decided to dedicate to his life to trying to answer that question through a series of self-soundings which he published as the Essais. A lot of the early essais are quite dry and often repeat what his favourite classical writers had to say. Frequently that was contradictory. But when he starts to explore his own reactions to the world, gaining in self-confidence as he begins to trust his own views over those of the ancients, he becomes much more interesting

He lived in very turbulent times in France during the Wars of Religion, when…

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  1. Jane Bakewell #
    November 7, 2013

    Yes, definitely worth following the link to see all the photos in detail and to read the interesting and informative commentary.

  2. Chris Fagg #
    December 29, 2013

    And thank you Sarah Bakewell for your wonderful book, which I started on Christmas Day and finished three days later. About two years ago I downloaded a free edition of Montaigne from (I think) Gutenberg on my Kindle, because I was interested in the fact that Shakespeare certainly knew some if not all of the work. Montaigne instantly became a companion who I read nearly every day up to nearly 1000 pages (100 or so to go). Staying with friends in the Dordogne, my French hostess insisted we visit Sarlat to see the house in which La Boetie was born. Your terrific book sets all in context and at a stroke has redoubled my enjoyment of Montaigne and his (and our) world.

    • December 31, 2013

      Thank you so much for this lovely message, Chris! The Sarlat house is wonderful isn’t it – I was amazed and very moved to see it too.

  3. Joaquín #
    February 20, 2014

    I love your book. Thanks a lot for your work.

    • February 21, 2014

      That’s lovely to hear – thank you very much!

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