Translated by Charles Cotton, edited by William Carew Hazlitt Essays --
The book is a collection of a large number of short subjective treatments of various topics published in 1580. Montaigne's stated goal is to describe man, and especially himself, with utter frankness. He finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disdain for man's pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for his timely death. He writes about his disgust with the religious conflicts of his time, believing that humans are not able to attain true certainty (skepticism). The longest of his essays, Apology for Raymond Sebond contains his famous motto, "What do I know?" Montaigne considered marriage necessary for the raising of children, but disliked strong feelings of passionate love because he saw them as detrimental to freedom. In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge that has to be accepted uncritically. -- Excerpted from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.