Throughout history, some books have changed the world. They have transformed the way we see ourselves and each other. They have inspired debate, dissent, war and revolution. They have enlightened, outraged, provoked and comforted. They have enriched lives and destroyed them. Now Penguin brings you the works of the great thinkers, pioneers, radicals and visionaries whose ideas shook civilization, and helped make us who we are. Michel de Montaigne was the originator of the modern essay form; in these diverse pieces he expresses his views on relationships, contemplates the idea that man is no different from any animal, argues that all cultures should be respected, and attempts, by an exploration of himself, to understand the nature of humanity.
Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, was born in 1553. He retired in 1571 to his lands at Montaigne, devoting himself to reading and reflection and composing his Essays (first version, 1580). He died at Montaigne in 1592 while preparing the final, and richest, edition of his Essays. M.A. Screech is an Extraordinary Fellow of Wolfson College and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He has edited and translated both the complete edition and a selection of the Essays for Penguin Classics and, in a separate volume, Montaigne's sceptical Apology for Raymond Sebond. His other books include Erasmus: Ecstasy and the Praise of Folly, Rabelais, Montaigne and Melancholy, and, most recently, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross.