"Michel Eyquem de Montaigne (February 28, 1533 – September 13, 1592) was one of the most influential writers of the French Renaissance. Montaigne is known for popularizing the essay. He became famous for his effortless ability to merge serious intellectual speculation with casual anecdotes and autobiography—and his massive volume Essais (translating literally as 'Attempts') contains, to this day, some of the most widely influential essays ever written. Montaigne had a direct influence on writers the world over, from Shakespeare to Emerson, from Nietzsche to Rousseau."
Michel de Montaigne - About.com
Linguistics and Philosophy - MIT OCW
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