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Michel de Montaigne
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Author
    (February 28, 1533-September 13, 1592)
    Born in Chateau de Montaigne, France
    Wrote 'Essais' (1580)
    Appointed counselor to the Parliament of Bordeaux (1557)
    Courtier at the court of King Charles IX (1561-63)
    Mayor of Bordeaux (1581-85)
    Sayings include:
    'Nothing is so firmly believed as that which is least known'
    'No man is a hero to his valet'
    'Marriage is like a cage: one sees the birds outside desperate to get in, and those inside desperate to get out'
    'Man cannot make a worm, yet he will make gods by the dozen'
    His family had made their fortune selling herring.
    He was brought up to learn Latin before French, with his tutor, servants and parents only speaking Latin in front of him.
    He withdrew from society and his family for nearly a decade while working on 'Essais.'
    His declaration 'I am myself the subject of my book' was considered self-indulgent by his contemporaries.
    As mayor of Bordeaux, he successfully moderated between Catholics and Protestants during a time of religious wars.
    He popularized the essay as a literary genre.
    He is considered a father of modern skepticism.
    His ideas influenced the philosophers Rene Descartes, Blaise Pascal and Friedrich Nietzsche.

Credit: C. Fishel


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