Michel de Montaigne and Essays, Essay Type and MontaigneJune 27, 2021
Montaigne is the founder and first grandmaster of the essay genre. In his work called Essays and published in three volumes, he focused on every subject related to the individual and society, and he rethought and wrote almost every subject by going beyond the medieval thought and belief patterns. He is considered the creator of the essay genre. In his most important work, Essays, he examines people, especially himself, with great candor.
Essays (Montaigne with his writings, which is also the name of the essay type; he found the variability rates of the strict rules that are known as true with the production of thought, he acquired the management of approaching the facts through the doubt of the mind, he learned that some generalizations can be made in humanistic situations with the principle of self-observation and recognition, many psychology situations can be illuminated by the method of analyzing the observation facts. He created the essay type, which is the most contemporary example of the writing of thought and philosophy, with the “exemplary human” (Honnete Homme) pleasant view against every bigotry. Selections from his work have been published many times in Turkish in the last 40 years.
Closed to his library, Montaigne developed an increasingly rich way of thinking about the books he read and the lifestyle of his time, adding his views on morals and institutions. Taking the principle of “to philosophize is to learn to die” as the starting point of ancient thinkers, especially Seneca, he gave a skeptical quality to his book, which is the first of its kind of essay. In the “Essays”, he spoke of himself, and through himself he dealt with the plight of people in general and social value judgments undogmatically. After ten years of work, Montaigne published two volumes of Essays in 1580. After a second revised edition in 1582, he produced an enlarged new edition, but died before it could be published. This text was published with some errors by Pierre de Brach and Melle de Gournay in 1595. Sabahattin Eyüboğlu made a selection from “The Essays” and translated it into Turkish and published it.
The author brought the essay type to literature. He is the most masterful artist of this genre. With his work titled “Essays”, he broke the dogmatic thought patterns of the Middle Ages. In this work, he focused on every subject related to the individual and society, and questioned traditions, customs and beliefs. The artist, who saved French from foreign influences and made it a written language, became the pioneer of free thought.
Prepared by: Sociologist Ömer Yıldırım
Source: Atatürk University Sociology Department 1st Year “Introduction to Philosophy” and 2nd, 3rd, 4th Grade “History of Philosophy” Lecture Notes (Ömer YILDIRIM)