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One of the most important writers and thinkers of the Renaissance, Michel de Montaigne (1533-92) helped invent a literary genre that seemed more modern than anything that had come before. But did he do it, as he suggests in his Essays, by retreating to his chateau, turning his back on the world, and stoically detaching himself from his violent times? In this definitive biography, Philippe Desan, one of the world's leading authorities on Montaigne, overturns this longstanding myth by showing that Montaigne was constantly concerned with realizing his political ambitions--and that the literary and philosophical character of the Essays largely depends on them. The most comprehensive and authoritative biography of Montaigne yet written, this sweeping narrative offers a fascinating new picture of his life and work.



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