Terence Cave

in Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume 131, 2004 Lectures

Published by British Academy

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780197263518
Published online February 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191734021 | DOI:

Series: Proceedings of the British Academy


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This lecture presents a sketch of another kind of historical reading of the Essais. This reading might help in recovering at least something of the modes of thinking and writing that is peculiar to the period during which they were written. It states that Montaigne was often claimed to be distinctively ‘early modern’, since his mental landscape appeared to anticipate many of the features one would regard as belonging to the modern period. The modes of thinking and writing that characterise the Essais are also the focus of this lecture.

Keywords: historical reading; Essais; modes of thinking and writing; Montaigne; mental landscape

Chapter.  10228 words. 

Subjects: Social and Cultural History

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