What Do I Know?: Essential Essays (Hardcover)

What Do I Know?: Essential Essays By Michel de Montaigne, David Coward (Translated by), Yiyun Li (Introduction by) Cover Image
By Michel de Montaigne, David Coward (Translated by), Yiyun Li (Introduction by)
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A fresh new translation of Michel de Montaigne’s most profound, searching essays, with an introduction from Yiyun Li, author of The Book of Goose

This gift-worthy collection of 16 essays by “the father of the essay” is a short, accessible introduction to his work, offering a fascinating glimpse inside a great Renaissance mind

“I myself am the subject of my book.” So wrote Montaigne in the introductory note to his Essays, the book that marked the birth of the modern essay form.

In works of probing intelligence and idiosyncratic observation, Montaigne moved from intimate personal observation to roving theories of the conduct of kings and cannibals, the effects of sorrow and fear, and the fallibility of human memory and judgement.

This new selection of Montaigne’s 16 most ingenious essays appears in a lucid new translation by the prize-winning David Coward. What Do I Know? gives the modern reader profound insight into a great Renaissance mind.

What Do I Know? is divided into 3 sections and includes:

  • On Sorrow, On how our Actions are to be judged by the Intention, On Idling, On Liars, That we should not be considered happy until we are dead

  • On Fear, To tell true from false, it is folly to rely on our own capacities, How we can cry and laugh at the same thing, On Solitude, On the Uncertainty of our Judgement, On Drunkenness

  • On Cannibals, On the Inequality that exists between us, On Sleep, On our lease of life, On Carriages

About the Author

Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was born on his family estate in Aquitaine, not far from Bordeaux. Raised speaking Greek and Latin, he studied law before embarking on a career of public service, first as a counselor of court in Périgueux and Bordeaux, then as a courtier to Charles the IX. Following the death of his father, Montaigne retired from public life to the Tower of his château to read and write. He published the first two volumes of his landmark Essays in 1580, with a third following in 1588; the complete Essays appeared posthumously in 1595.

David Coward is Emeritus Professor of French at the University of Leeds and a translator of many books from the French, including Georges Simenon’s Inspector Maigret series and Arthur Cohen's Belle du Seigneur, for which he was awarded a Scott Moncrieff Prize.

Product Details
ISBN: 9781782278818
ISBN-10: 1782278818
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: October 17th, 2023
Pages: 256
Language: English

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