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How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer


How to Live: Or a Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer Cover

ISBN13: 9781590514832
ISBN10: 1590514831
Condition: Standard
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Winner of the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography

How to get along with people, how to deal with violence, how to adjust to losing someone you love—such questions arise in most people’s lives. They are all versions of a bigger question: How do you live? This question obsessed Renaissance writers, none more than Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, considered by many to be the first truly modern individual. He wrote free-roaming explorations of his thoughts and experience, unlike anything written before. More than four hundred years later, Montaigne’s honesty and charm still draw people to him. Readers come to him in search of companionship, wisdom, and entertainment —and in search of themselves. Just as they will to this spirited and singular biography.

About the Author

Sarah Bakewell was a curator of early printed books at the Wellcome Library before becoming a full-time writer, publishing her highly acclaimed biographies The Smart and The English Dane. She lives in London, where she teaches creative writing at City University and catalogs rare book collections for the National Trust.

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Bruce Morrison, January 4, 2012 (view all comments by Bruce Morrison)
Bakewell is a magician! The Montaigne I read in school was a bit flat; now I want him for dinner, as another reader commented. What a guy: savant, slacker, ironist, survivor of crazy times, and inspiration. Truly, one of the first moderns.
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Donovan, January 3, 2012 (view all comments by Donovan)
Montaigne is better in the original but this is a workmanlike job of analyzing this amazing man.
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Timothy Connor, January 1, 2012 (view all comments by Timothy Connor)
I love Montaigne--I've always felt he was the first modern man, and reading Bakewell I now think he may have been the first postmodern one at the same time, always ready to consider a different perspective. She organizes the biography not chronologically but around the major themes (the 20 attempts of the title) Montaigne treated in his essays, examining how his experiences informed his thinking and writing. To read Montaigne is to feel that you know him (he's at the top of my list of historical figures I'd want to invite for dinner), but this book adds a bit more dimensionality to his self-portrait.
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Product Details

Bakewell, Sarah
Other Press (NY)
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
Grade Level:
8.25 x 5.5 x 1.1 in 0.85 lb

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