Two books on Montaigne

I was sure I’d already done something about “How To Live”, which is Sarah Bakewell’s biography of Michel de Montaigne, but apparently not, so I’ll do it here while I also write about “When I Am Playing With My Cat, How Do I Know She Is Not Playing With Me”, which is Saul Frampton’s attempt at the same thing. I much preferred How To Live, which arranges its chapters by topic and felt less dry to me. It may well be that because I’d read that one first (although I was actually looking for When I Am Playing… when I bought How To Live, mostly because it was out in paperback first) I knew most of the stories already, but overall I think I am glad I read them that way round.

Montaigne is an interesting dude, one of the first, if not the very first person to write about his inner experiences and right at the sharp end of the¬†renaissance, and it’s nice to see that a lot of the things that worried him are still around today. Or maybe it isn’t, since it suggests we’ve solved nothing… I think he might have preferred Sarah Bakewell’s book too, if he’d had the chance to read it.

See also: Essays, Michel de Montaigne. Obvs.


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