Order in Disorder
Intratextual Symmetry in Montaigne’s “Essais”
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: The Ohio State University Press
Title Page, Copyright
Introduction: Marginal Sympathy
Montaigne begins “De l’amitié” [Of friendship] (I: 28), the chapter1 that comes just before the middle of the first book of the Essays, by talking about a middle that corresponds to that one and hinting at the way his book may be arranged: ...
1. Book One
The time has long passed since Pierre Villey’s disparagement of Book One’s early chapters—”All one can say about most of these chapters is that there is nothing to say”—held sway.1 There has recently been more and more to say, especially about the first. Celso Martins Azar Filho reports that the first chapter “is today considered a kind of introduction” to the...
2. Book Two
“De la ressemblance des enfans aux peres” was the Essays’ concluding chapter in the original 1580 edition. So it was appropriate that it should begin with a reflection, though brief, on the Essais themselves: “Ce fagotage de tant de diverses pieces se fait en céte condition, que je n’y metz la main que lors qu’une trop láche oysiveté me presse, & non ailleurs que chez moi” [This...
3. Book Three
It is to be expected that in “De l’utile et de l’honneste” Montaigne should talk about the useful and the honorable: “Je suy le langage commun, qui faict difference, entre les choses utiles, & les honnestes: si que d’aucunes actions naturelles, non seulement utiles, mais necessaires, il les nomme deshonnestes & sales” [I follow the common language, which distinguishes between things...
4. Journey to the Center of the Book
We recall that “De l’amitié” (I: 28), which immediately precedes the central chapter of Book One and serves to introduce it, begins with an account of how an artist decorated the walls of Montaigne’s chateau with a noble example of his best work in the middle of each one, and filled the surrounding space with grotesques. We recall as well that he likens...
Epilogue: The Playful Text
“Every commentary,” writes Yves Delègue in Montaigne et la mauvaise foi, adding that his own is no exception, “is in the final analysis only a montage of quotations reassembled in a certain order. It takes apart the work under the pretext of making the ‘truth’ come out at last. The commentator’s...
Index of Names
Index to the Essays
Page Count: 328
Publication Year: 2013
OCLC Number: 870177325
MUSE Marc Record: Download for Order in Disorder