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Montaigne and Melancholy

Montaigne (1533-1592), the personification of philosophical calm, had to struggle to become the wise Renaissance humanist we know. His balanced temperament, sanguine and melancholic, promised genius but threatened madness. When he started his Essays, Montaigne was upset by an attack of melancholy humor: He became temperamental and unbalanced. Writing about himself restored the balance but broke an age-old taboo-happily so, for he discovered profound truths about himself and about our human condition. His charm and humor have made his writings widely enjoyed and admired.
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Table of Contents

Chapter 1 Foreword Chapter 2 Preface to the 1983 Edition Chapter 3 Preface to the New Edition Chapter 4 Originality Chapter 5 Genius Chapter 6 Montaigne's Melancholy Chapter 7 From Genius to Madness: Torquato Tasso

About the Author

M. A. Screech, Emeritus Fellow of All Souls and Extraordinary Fellow of Wolfson College, Oxford, is a Renaissance scholar of international renown.


An invaluable literary companion to the essays of Montaigne ... the insights it provides are remarkable. -- Anthony Storr Sunday Times Original and important... His study will easily fulfil its avowed aim of making Montaigne's Essays more comprehensible and more enjoyable. -- James Supple Times Higher Education A probing, loving companion to the masterwork. -- Nicholas Wollaston Observer A sensitive probe into how Montaigne resolved for himself the age-old ambiguities of melancholia and, in doing so, spoke of what he called the 'human condition'. -- Roy Porter London Review Of Books

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