Montaigne, Michel de (15331592)

Montaigne, Michel de, a sceptico-speculative thinker and moralist, born in the Château of Montaigne, Périgord; an easy-going mortal, but a keen observer of the ways and manners of other people, which some experience in travel gave him opportunities to do, as well as the study of the old classic Latin authors; his fame rests on his “Essays,” in which he records his observations of mankind, but in which, from a decided descendental twist he had, he betrays a rather low idea of the morale of the race; the book, however, is a favourite with all observant people of education, and a translation of it by Florio is the one book we know for certain to have been in the library of Shakespeare; bred as he was by his father's arrangement among the common people, he always retained a friendly feeling towards his neighbours, and they cherished towards him feelings of very high regard; he was a quiet, tolerant man, and his writings reveal a character which commands the respect of men who affect a much higher level of thinking than that occupied by himself (15331592).

Definition taken from The Nuttall Encyclopædia, edited by the Reverend James Wood (1907)

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