An Insightful Blog From the Renaissance

Michel de Montaigne writes in his Essays, a real thoughtful blog from Renaissance (one could say):

“I can see that these writings of mine are no more than the ravings of a man who has never done more than taste the outer crust of knowledge (…) and who has retained only an ill-formed generic notion of it: a little about everything and nothing about anything, in the French style.”

He then provides us with some information on his background:

“(…) I do also know how the sciences in general claim to serve us in our lives. But what I have definitely not done is to delve deeply into them (…) I have fashioned no sustained intercourse with any solid book except Plutarch and Seneca (…). My game-bag is made of history, rather, or poetry, which I love, being particularly inclined towards it;”

And here follows a vivid depiction of poetry effectiveness:

“For (as Cleanthes said) just as the voice of the trumpet rings out clearer and stronger for being forced through a narrow tube so too a saying leaps forth much more vigorously when compressed into the rhythms of poetry, striking me then with a livelier shock.”

(I am using the Penguin Classics edition, 2003, I:26, with its outstanding translation by M. A. Screech)

Good old Montaigne, writing openly and honestly about everything regarding life and man, from small trivia and anecdotes to truly deep meditations. His words are simple yet profound and personal. I love to browse randomly into his pages where one can read thousands of insightful passages, like the ones above that hit me yesterday.

Dear old Montaigne, a true magister for meditation (and consolation). A man of the street of the French Renaissance (well, I am exaggerating, he was cultured, well-off and retired to his castle lol). A French country intellectual in some way (he was not a Paris man) and his essays so damn close to a Renaissance blog which was continuously rewritten and constantly in progress. He in fact always gets back to his writings: why a blog, from the Renaissance or from today, should be thrown down instinctively? (I know many readers will not agree; I also am wavering between these two approaches).

He makes use 1) of French as the general medium and neutral language (French is sometimes a bit neutral, I’ll admit), 2) of the Guascon dialect for the most colourful passages, and finally 3) of Latin (mainly quotes) for the most noble themes.

Of course what also attracts us is his good choice of the ancient, classical Western philosophers, he being in fact such a gold mine of information about the Stoic, Skeptic and Epicurean thoughts, the ones we have some preference for (among the rest).

But he is not only that. Since he is a little about everything and nothing about anything: à la française.

8 thoughts on “The Trumpet Sound, à la Française

  1. Now you’ve started that little bug in me that wants me to demand ask for a post on the music of Mozart, Chopin and the like. That trumpet corrupted me! 😛

    Btw, you are very well suited as Boss of Roma. 😛


  2. @Ashish
    I might write a “How to escape from metal rock etc. in search of new musical horizons” type of post lol, 😉 but not immediately, since I need something light for my readers, obsessed and fatigued by my heavy stuff 🙂


  3. I need something light for my readers, obsessed and fatigued by my heavy stuff
    Post pics of hot italian girls… all the fatigue of your readership will wash off… the male ones at least. :mrgreen:


  4. @Ashish
    I am surrounded by women in here that keep telling me: are you human males THAT simple? All you need to see is just hot chicks’ bodies? Won’t you ever grow up? Hard to reply to them, sometimes, believe me, man …. 😉


  5. @Man of Roma

    I would like to reply on behalf of Ashish

    1. Have you heard of the song “18 till I die”
    2. We would grow up, if u had anything better than just hot chicks’ bodies? I mean the chicks with hot bodies are just so dumb!!! 😛


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