Sunday, December 27, 2020

Inventing the authority of a modern self

Daniel J. Mahoney reviews Montaigne: Life without Law, by Pierre Manent, at The New Criterion.

"His Essays, written, published, and revised between 1570 and 1592, demonstrate that he genuinely admired Socrates and the Roman hero Cato. But Montaigne rather shockingly claims to have learned nothing fundamental from them, and he has no interest whatsoever in imitating their greatness. Nonetheless, there is something enticing about Montaigne’s turn to the authority of the self in place of the classical Christian demand to put order in one’s soul in light of the requirements of the Good itself."
See Montaigne, Essays, at Great Books of the Western World (first edition, 52 Vol., 1952) volume 25, and Great Books of the Western World (second edition, 60 Vol., 1990) volume 23.


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