The essays of Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, the 16th-century French philosopher, are an obvious addition to the Notting Hill Editions 'Classic Collection' due to the masterful balance of intellectual knowledge and personal story-telling conveyed in his writing. He popularised the genre of the essay form, coining the term from the French verb 'essayer', translated literally as attempts or trials. This selection is introduced by Tim Parks and is from the M A Creech translation. In this collection, Montaigne ponders the great and small questions of life and subjects as diverse as education, fear, reading and death. Throughout his essays he attempts to reach a deeper understanding of himself and, in so doing, he touches on the greater human condition. His natural curiosity for life shines through in his lively, at times rambling, pieces and the charm of his writing continues to captivate modern readers. Montaigne indicates a direction western thinking could have taken and alas didn't.
Michel de Montaigne is one of the founding fathers of the essay. Retreating to his chateau to write, (and often neglecting his estate duties), Montaigne pondered the great and small questions of life. Throughout his essays he attempted to reach a deeper understanding of himself, and in doing so, touches on the greater human condition. Always curious, Montaigne ponders subjects as diverse as education, fear, reading and death. His ideas and the charm of his writing continue to captivate modern readers. Tim Parks is a novelist, essayist, travel writer and translator based in Italy. Author of fifteen novels, including the Booker short-listed Europa, he has translated works by Moravia, Calvino, Calasso, Machiavelli and Leopardi. While running a post-graduate degree course in translation in Milan, he writes regularly for the LRB and the NYRB. His many non-fiction works include the bestselling Italian Neighbours and Teach Us to Sit Still, a memoir on chronic pain and meditation. His critical work includes the essay collection Where I'm Reading From, and most recently, The Novel, A Survival Skill, a reflection on the relationship between novelists, their writing and their readers.