Introduced by Tim Parks
In 1571, shortly after a near-death experience, Montaigne retired to a room in his tower where ‘in calm and freedom from all cares’ he began to write his famous essays. These ‘whimsies’ are intimate, revelatory, and explore themes of fear and courage, mortality and personal freedom. Montaigne sought to liberate the individual from the pressure of social custom – ideas considered so dangerous that his books were banned by the Vatican for nearly two centuries.
In his introduction, Tim Parks sheds new light on his enduringly popular figures whose essays ‘are so engaging, so seductive, that many readers will revel in their intimacy and irreverence without entirely grasping the challenge they throw down to us.’