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Montaignes: Message & Method Dikka Berven

Montaignes: Message & Method

Dikka Berven

Published February 1st 1995
ISBN : 9780815318385
433 pages
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 About the Book 

An introduction to the literary scholarshipIn the 400 years since its publication, Montaignes Essais has inspired great interest, vigorous criticism, even censorship, both by Montaignes ordinary readers, and by readers whose scholarly and intellectual interests eventually led to their own essays on the subject. The articles gathered here provide an introduction to the literary scholarship on Montaigne, with emphasis on scholarly work done in the second half of this century. Only several of the articles are in French- most all are in English or have been translated from French into English.Illuminates Montaignes layers of meaningReading habits have changed considerably since the Renaissance. Modern readers often lack the classical and historical background to recognize Montaignes sources, to identify and date his borrowed material, and to consider the function and role of his sources. Readers will find illumination here of the background to many important layers of meaning which derive from Montaignes immense literary learning. Until recently, literary scholarship on the Essais has been dominated by the evolutionary theory which holds that Montaigne began as a Stoic, passed through a skeptical crisis, and ended as an Epicurean. According to this view, Montaignes Essais is the record of his changing ideas, and the earlier chapters are more or less anecdotal, somehow less interesting and less personal than the self-portrait so apparent in the later chapters of the third book.Reveals formal elements behind natural styleRecent trends in scholarship show less interest in Montaigne the man and more interest in the text itself, analyzing rhetorical strategies and formal elements that reveal the artfulness of Montaignes natural style. Contemporary critical work has identified a literary persona in the text, related to but different from the author. Twentieth-century critics have discovered that Montaignes views on the nature of language and written discourse are surprisingly modern and valuable in the context of contemporary concerns about the origin of meaning and the role of the reader in the text. Individual volumes available: Vol 1 Montaignes Message and Method456 pages, ISBN 0-8153-1839-1Vol.2 Sources of Montaignes Thought376 pages, ISBN 0-8153-1840-5Vol.3 Montaignes RhetoricComposing Myself for Others408 pages, ISBN 0-8153-1841-3Vol.4 Language and MeaningWord Study in Montaignes Essais344 pages, ISBN 0-8153-1842-1Vol.5 Reading Montaigne400 pages, ISBN 0-8153-1843-X