Merry Wanderer of the Night + TIME

Montaigne Readalong: Week Two

The Montaigne Readalong is a year long project in which I try to read over 1,000 pages of Montaigne's essays. Every Monday I write about the essays I read for the week. You can share your thoughts or join the readalong if you'd like, just check the Montaigne Readalong schedule. You can read several of these essays for free on Google Books

Essays Read this Week:
1. That our deeds are judged by the intention
2. On idleness
3. On liars
4. On a ready or hesitant delivery
5. On prognostications
6. On constancy
7. Ceremonial at the meeting of the kings

Favorite Quotations:
"If I can, I will prevent my death from saying anything not first said by my life." (That our deeds are judged by the intention)
"When the soul is without a definite aim she gets lost; for, as they say, if you are everywhere you are nowhere." (On idleness)
"This, too, happens in my case: where I seek myself I cannot find myself: I discover myself more by accident than by inquiring into my judgement." (On a ready or hesitant delivery

General Thoughts:
That our deeds are judged by the intention is a good essay to live your life by, I feel, because it makes you want to put all of the grudges you have in your past, speak your mind, and let things go. This is something I really need right now because I've been holding negative thoughts in my mind all year and I really just need to move past them.

Montaigne spends a good portion of On liars talking about his bad memory. It was really interesting for me to think of the "father of the essay" as someone with a bad memory because the essay is so connected to memory today. Even so, he had a beautiful description of memories, "they make a deep imprint by means of awareness and knowledge; it is hard for those facts not to spring to mind and to dislodge the falsehoods." This is interesting to think about today when so many nonfiction writers do take artistic liberties with their work. I think Montaigne would not approve of blatant lies in nonfiction, but I don't know how he would feel about light coloring. It would be interesting to hear what he thinks about artistic license.

In On a ready or hesitant delivery he spends the latter part of the essay talking about how he accidentally finds himself when he is writing, then walks away from what he wrote only to come back and not understand it. It is only when someone else reads it and finds the meaning again that he can come to understand it.

1. Do you even find yourself accidentally? Does it have anything to do with writing?
2. Do you have a difficult time letting things go in your life? Do you struggle with saying what you feel?

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Montaigne Readalong: Week Two + TIME