Montaigne’s Genre of Essay and Its Importance for the Development of Humanist Thought in Renaissance
“Morally and politically, Montaigne has often been interpreted as a forerunner of modern liberalism. This is due to his presentation of himself as a lover a freedom who is tolerant of difference and who wishes to maintain a rather robust distinction between the private and public spheres” (Edelman). Another thing that is clear from his essays is the power of freedom. If a person is blindly following some religion, then it is clear that he is not completely free. Being free is meant as a mind state, not necessarily physical freedom. As a person can have locked mind, that means he is not free (even though he is not in prison). While, if a person is in prison (or has some other restraints towards physical freedom), he can still be free in his mind. And freedom in mind is actually more important.
“As many scholars have noted, the style of the Essays makes them amenable to a wide range of interpretations, which explains the fact that many thinkers with diverse worldviews have found the Essays to be a mirror in which they see their own reflection, albeit perhaps clarified to some degree by Montaigne’s penetrating insights into human nature. This would not be inconsistent with Montaigne’s purposes. In essaying himself publicly, he essays his readers as well, and in demonstrating a method of achieving self-knowledge, he undoubtedly intends to offer readers opportunities for self-discovery” (Edelman). Montaigne influenced not only people during Renaissance, but even modern-day people. He has had a great impact on birth of new ideas not only during his life, but also many centuries after his death.
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