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Portrait of Michel de Montaigne, circa unknown. French Renaissance, known for popularizing the essay as a literary genre. During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that, «I am myself the matter of my book», was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. Château de Montaigne, a house built on the land once owned by Montaigne’s family.
His original family home no longer exists, though the tower in which he wrote still stands. Montaigne was born in the Aquitaine region of France, on the family estate Château de Montaigne, in a town now called Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne, close to Bordeaux. His mother lived a great part of Montaigne’s life near him, and even survived him, but is mentioned only twice in his essays. Montaigne’s relationship with his father, however, is frequently reflected upon and discussed in his essays. Montaigne’s education began in early childhood and followed a pedagogical plan that his father had developed, refined by the advice of the latter’s humanist friends. His father hired only servants who could speak Latin, and they were also given strict orders always to speak to the boy in Latin. The same rule applied to his mother, father, and servants, who were obliged to use only Latin words he himself employed, and thus acquired a knowledge of the very language his tutor taught him.
Around the year 1539, Montaigne was sent to study at a prestigious boarding school in Bordeaux, the Collège de Guyenne, then under the direction of the greatest Latin scholar of the era, George Buchanan, where he mastered the whole essays and letters bookshelves by his thirteenth year. Montaigne married Françoise de la Cassaigne in 1565, probably in an arranged marriage. She was the well-got daughter and niece of merchants of Toulouse and Bordeaux. They had six daughters, but only the second-born, Léonor, survived infancy. In 1571, he retired from public life to the Tower of the Château, his so-called «citadel», in the Dordogne, where he almost totally isolated himself from every social and family affair.
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In the year of Christ 1571, at the age of thirty-eight, on the last day of February, his birthday, Michael de Montaigne, long weary of the servitude of the court and of public employments, while still entire, retired to the bosom of the learned virgins, where in calm and freedom from all cares he will spend what little remains of his life, now more than half run out. In 1578, Montaigne, whose health had always been excellent, started suffering from painful kidney stones, a sickness he had inherited from his father’s family. Throughout this illness, he would have nothing to do with doctors or drugs. During Montaigne’s visit to the Vatican, as he described in his travel journal, the Essais were examined by Sisto Fabri who served as Master of the Sacred Palace under Pope Gregory XIII. He was re-elected in 1583 and served until 1585, again moderating between Catholics and Protestants.
The plague broke out in Bordeaux toward the end of his second term in office, in 1585. Montaigne continued to extend, revise, and oversee the publication of Essais. In 1588 he wrote its third book and also met the writer Marie de Gournay, who admired his work and later edited and published it. Montaigne called her his adopted daughter.
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This book should be handed to the candidate at the conclusion of all doctoral defenses.
Camus’s development as a thinker where his views differ writing phd dissertation from his more mature philosophy in several noteworthy respects.