Oil painting portrair Michel de Montaigne in red robes and white collar

Michel de Montaigne

(1533 - 1592)

At the age of thirty-seven in 1570, Montaigne sold his seat in the Bordeaux parliament, and around two years later, working in the tower of his chateau, began composing essays. He published the first of three books in 1580 with a prefatory “To the Reader” that included the observation, “I am myself the matter of my book; you would be unreasonable to spend your leisure on so frivolous and vain a subject.” While in Italy in the fall of 1581, Montaigne learned that he had been elected mayor of Bordeaux, a position he reluctantly accepted at the behest of Henry III. He died at the age of fifty-nine in 1592.

All Writing

One should always have one’s boots on and be ready to leave.

- Michel de Montaigne,1580

There is not much less vexation in the government of a private family than in the managing of an entire state.

- Michel de Montaigne,1580

On the loftiest throne in the world, we still sit only on our own rump.

- Michel de Montaigne,1580

The pleasure we hold in esteem for the course of our lives ought to have a greater share of our time dedicated to it; we should refuse no occasion nor omit any opportunity of drinking, and always have it in our minds.

- Michel de Montaigne,1580

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