New in Paperback: Montaigne and the Art of Free-Thinking

scholar-cover« Like Montaigne, Scholar is a pleasure to read. » (Peter Burke, University of Cambridge)

« Despite his surname, Richard Scholar wears his considerable learning lightly in this elegant introduction to Montaigne’s Essais, an introduction of interest to seasoned as well as green readers of the text…. Just as Montaigne extols freedom of judgment by means of examples both ancient and modern, so too Scholar moves back and forth through time with a Montaignian ease. » (Zachary S. Schiffman, H-France Review)

« A learned, well-written, and useful companion to the Essais. » (Times Higher Education Supplement)

« Luminously clear, persuasive, and thought-provoking. » (Sarah Bakewell, author of How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer)

« In this accessible and attractively written literary companion to the thought of the Essais, Richard Scholar tells first-time readers all they need to know, while at the same time offering a bold new image of Montaigne as a writer committed to the adventure of free-thinking. » (Terence Cave, University of Oxford, and author of How to Read Montaigne)

Education, religion, scepticism, politics, friendship, sex, and style – Montaigne’s major themes are revealed here in the making of a text that practises freedom of thought by putting it to the test. This is an audacious close reading of the Essays and a demonstration of how Montaigne’s great book continues to speak to the present.

Available for purchase here.

Richard Scholar is Professor of French and Comparative Literature at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Oriel College. His previous books include The Je-Ne- Sais-Quoi in Early Modern Europe: Encounters with a Certain Something and, as co-editor, Thinking with Shakespeare: Comparative and Interdisciplinary Essays.


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