Collier's New Encyclopedia (1921)/Montaigne, Michel, Seigneur

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MONTAIGNE (ng-täny′), MICHEL, SEIGNEUR, a French essayist; born in Château of Montaigne, Dordogne, France, Feb. 28, 1533. He was taught Latin from his cradle, and till he was six years of age was not permitted to hear any other language. He was then sent to the college of Guienne, at Bordeaux, where he remained seven years, having in that time gone through the whole college course. In 1554 he was appointed a judge in the Parliament of Bordeaux. In 1569 he married. During the civil wars he lived in retirement on his own estate. In 1580-1581 he traveled in Germany, Switzerland, and Italy, visited Rome, and was presented to the Pope. He was elected mayor of Bordeaux; and he held that office four years. The pestilence and the war of the League drove him from his château in 1586; and he did not return for two years. It was during this period that his friendship with Marie de Gournay began. She was attracted to him by his writings; Montaigne called her his adopted daughter. Montaigne's “Essays” (1588) rank among the few great books of the world. They have been translated into almost all languages. During the last few years of his life he suffered from most painful diseases, but he would have nothing to do with doctors or drugs. He died Sept. 13, 1592.