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Melvyn Bragg and guests discuss the life and work of Michel de Montaigne. Best known for his influential Essays, Montaigne is regarded as the father of modern sceptical thought.

Melvyn Bragg and his guests discuss the Essays of Michel de Montaigne. Born near Bordeaux in 1533, Montaigne retired from a life of public service aged 38 and began to write. He called these short works 'essais', or 'attempts'; they deal with an eclectic range of subjects, from the dauntingly weighty to the apparently trivial. Although he never considered himself a philosopher, he is often now seen as one of the most outstanding Sceptical thinkers of early modern Europe. His approachable style, intelligence and subtle thought have made him one of the most widely admired writers of the Renaissance.


David Wootton
Anniversary Professor of History at York University

Terence Cave
Emeritus Professor of French Literature at the University of Oxford

Felicity Green
Chancellor's Fellow in History at the University of Edinburgh.

Producer: Thomas Morris.

Available now

42 minutes

Last on

Thu 25 Apr 2013 21:30


Professor David Wootton at the University of York


Professor Terence Cave at the University of Oxford


Dr Felicity Green at the University of Edinburgh


Les Essais - The Montaigne Project


'My booke and my selfe'


Titi Lucretii Cari De rerum natura libri sex


BBC iPlayer - The Essay: Montaigne


Michel de Montaigne - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy


Michel de Montaigne - Wikipedia





Sarah Bakewell, How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in one question and twenty attempts at an answer (Vintage, 2011)


Peter Burke, Montaigne (Oxford University Press, 1981)


Terence Cave, How to Read Montaigne (Granta Books, 2007)


Hugo Friedrich (trans. Dawn Eng), Montaigne (University of California Press, 1991)


Felicity Green, Montaigne and the Life of Freedom (Cambridge University Press, 2012)


Stephen Greenblatt, Shakespearean Negotiations: The Circulation of Social Energy in Renaissance England (Clarendon Press, 1990)


Ullrich Langer (ed.), The Cambridge Companion to Montaigne (Cambridge University Press, 2005)


Michel de Montaigne (trans. Charles Cotton), Essays of Michel de Montaigne (Mundus Publishing, 1991)


Michel de Montaigne (trans. M. A. Screech), The Complete Essays (Penguin Classics, 1993)


Richard Sayce, The Essays of Montaigne: A Critical Exploration (Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1972)


Richard Scholar, Montaigne and the Art of Free-Thinking (Peter Lang, 2010)


M. A. Screech, Montaigne and Melancholy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2000)


Jean Starobinski, Montaigne in Motion (University of Chicago Press, 2009)


Natalie Zemon Davis, The Return of Martin Guerre (Harvard University Press, 1984)



Role Contributor
Producer Thomas Morris
Presenter Melvyn Bragg
Producer Thomas Morris
Presenter Melvyn Bragg


  • Thu 25 Apr 2013 09:00
  • Thu 25 Apr 2013 21:30

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