Michel de Montaigne

(28 February 1533 – 13 September 1592)

Michel de Montaigne Quotes

  • ''Is it not better to remain in suspense than to entangle yourself in the many errors that the human fancy has produced? Is it not better to suspend your convictions than to get mixed up in these seditious and quarrelsome divisions?''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 500, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Futility of dogmatic philosophy.
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  • ''I am not building here a statue to erect at the town crossroads, or in a church or a public square.... This is for a nook in a library, and to amuse a neighbor, a relative, a friend, who may take pleasure in associating and conversing with me.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Giving the Lie," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 18, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).
  • ''The corruption of the age is produced by the individual contribution of each one of us; some contribute treachery, others injustice, irreligion, tyranny, avarice, cruelty, in accordance with their greater power; the weaker ones bring stupidity, vanity, passivity, and I am one of them.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • ''And if nobody reads me, shall I have wasted my time, when I have beguiled so many idle hours with such pleasant and profitable reflections?''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Giving the Lie," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 18, Abel Langelier, Paris (1595).
  • ''There is no pleasure to me without communication: there is not so much as a sprightly thought comes into my mind that it does not grieve me to have produced alone, and that I have no one to tell it to.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," bk. 3, ch. 9, Essays (1588).
  • ''This idea is more surely understood by interrogation; WHAT DO I KNOW? which I bear as my motto with the emblem of a pair of scales.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 526, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Montaigne's motto, "Que sçay-je?"
  • ''Our truth of nowadays is not what is, but what others can be convinced of; just as we call "money" not only that which is legal, but also any counterfeit that will pass.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Giving the Lie," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. II, ch. 18, Simon Millanges, Bordeaux, first edition (1580).
  • ''No pleasure has any savor for me without communication.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).
  • ''And truly Philosophy is but sophisticated poetry. Whence do those ancient writers derive all their authority but from the poets?''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Apology for Raimund Sebond," p. 537, The Essays of Montaigne, vol. I, trans. by E.J. Trechmann, Oxford University Press, New York and London (n.d.). Montaigne's appraisal of philosophy.
  • ''One must be a little foolish, if one does not want to be even more stupid.''
    Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592), French essayist. "Of Vanity," The Essays (Les Essais), bk. III, ch. 9, Abel Langelier, Paris (1588).

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