Agreeable eye.

an eudæmonistarchives

More specifically concerning: Montaigne

Montaigne 1.1

beware of pity

Montaigne 1.2

crusted over and hardened by reason

Montaigne 1.3

from Albrecht Dürer’s Portrait of Maximilian I We are never at home with, but always beyond, ourselves. Fear, desire, and hope impel us into the future, and rob us of the sense and consideration of that which is, in order to keep us musing over that which will be, even when we shall cease to […]

Montaigne 1.4

But, in good sooth, when the hand is raised to strike we feel hurt if it misses its aim and falls on empty air; so also, if the sight is to have a pleasant prospect, it must not be lost and scattered on vacant space, but have an object to sustain it at a reasonable […]

Montaigne 1.5

Aegidius Albertinus, Hirnschleiffer (1645), p. 94 As to ourselves, who, not being so overscrupulous, give the honour of the war to him who has the profit of it, and who say, with Lysander, that ‘when the lion’s skin is too short, we must eke it out with a bit from that of the fox’, the […]

Montaigne 1.6

The dangers of conferring with the ‘enemy’ – both if one goes on one’s own or with one’s cohorts: dangers on all sides.1 Circumstances create their own consequence, and lead naturally to a certain course of action; the refrain from that action becomes difficult (specifically to do with the difficulty in restraining a conquering army […]

Montaigne 1.7

It is perhaps the result of reading too many detective stories, but Montaigne’s notes on the importance of intentions was full of possibilities: They do still worse who reserve for their last will the declaration of some spiteful intention against a neighbour after having concealed it during life; thereby manifesting little regard for their own […]

Montaigne 1.8

When lately I withdrew to my own home, resolved, as far as in me lay, to think only of spending in rest and retirement the little time I still have to live, it seemed to me that I could do my mind no greater favour than to allow it, in idleness, to entertain itself, to […]

Montaigne 1.9

From Pierre L’Estoile’s Les belles Figures et Drolleries de la Ligue We are human beings, and hold together, only by speech (30). When thinking back over the essay ‘On Liars’ I find myself thinking of it in terms of memory, for the first third of it is taken up with Montaigne’s concern about his own […]

Montaigne 1.10

As we advise ladies to take up those games and bodily exercises which will show off their particular beauty to the best advantage, so I would give the same advice with regard to those advantages in eloquence (33) […] I know by experience that natural disposition which is impatience of earnest and laborious premeditation, and […]

Montaigne 1.11

It is at this point in reading the Essays that I notice the running heads do not contain the titles of the essay but rather an arbitrary key point for the page – for the shorter essays this usually results in the title appearing as the running head, but the longer compositions generally have a […]

Montaigne 1.12

I cannot deny that if the loud report of an arquebus suddenly strikes on my ear in a place where I have no reason to expect it, I am startled; which I have seen happen to others more valorous than I. – Montaigne (Essays, ‘On Steadfastness’) Is steadfastness then to apply only in those circumstances […]

Montaigne 1.13

An engraving by Matthäus Merian the Elder (1710) For my part, I often neglect both of these empty formalities, since I curtail all ceremony in my own house. If any take offence, what shall I do? Better to offend him once than myself every day; that would be a perpetual slavery. […] Not only every […]

Montaigne 1.14

I live from day to day, and am content with having sufficient for present and ordinary needs; for the extraordinary all the provision in the world will not suffice. And it is madness to expect that Fortune could ever sufficiently arm us against herself. With our own arms must we fight her. – Montaigne (Essays, […]

Montaigne 1.15

The bombardment of the Acropolis in 1687 via the Ottoman Imperial Archives (formerly on Flickr, but now not) So above all things a man should take heed, if he can, against falling into the hands of an enemy judge who is victorious and armed. – Montaigne (Essays,‘One does notwith impunity defend a placeobstinately and against […]

Montaigne 1.16

The Gunpowder plot conspirators, Crispin de Passe the Elder 1605 via Giornale Nuovo (ca. 2007) The recurring theme of willfulness, and the conflation of cowardice and ignorance as two pernicious forms of weakness one can, in part, lay at the feet of Nature, but only in part: It is reasonable indeed to see difference between […]

Montaigne 1.17

…when I read history, which is written by all sorts and conditions of men, I usually consider what kind of man the author is: if his profession is that of letters only, he teaches me principally style and language; if he is a physician, I am the more ready to believe what he says of […]

Montaigne 1.18

They who have had a good drubbing in a fight may be led back to the charge on the morrow, though still wounded and bleeding; but if they have been given a good fright by the enemy, you will not induce them even to look at them. – Montaigne (Essays, ‘Of Fear’) The consideration of […]

Montaigne 1.19

Solon the Athenian, from the Nuremberg Chronicle But in this last act, where death and ourselves each play there part, there must be no more pretending: we must speak plainly, and disclose what there is of good and clean at the bottom of the pot. – Montaigne (Essays, ‘That we should not judge of our […]

Montaigne 1.20

‘Philosophy’ (1707) by Sébastien Leclerc (1637-1714) via Giornale Nuovo The other day somebody, turning over my tablets, found a memorandum of something I wished to be done after my death. I told him, what was true, that being but a league’s distance from my house, and healthy and robust, I had hastened to write it […]

Montaigne 1.21

Steel engraving by J.B. Bourgois, 1808, after ‘The Hermaphrodite’ in the Louvre. We sweat, we tremble, we turn pale and blush through the shock of our imagination and lying back in our feather-bed we feel our body agitated by its power… –Montaigne (Essays ‘Of the Power of Imagination’) The power of imagination – excesses of […]

Montaigne 1.22

Hieronymus Brunschwig, Liber Pestilentialis de venenis epidemie The tradesman thrives only by the extravagance of youth, the husbandman by the dearness of grain, the architect by the ruin of houses, the officers of justice by lawsuits and men’s quarrels; even the honour and practice of ministers of religion depend on our death and our vices. […]

Montaigne 1.23

‘Philosophy and Christian Art’ (1868) by Daniel Huntington What can be more barbarous than to see a nation where, by lawful custom, the office of a judge is sold, and judgements are paid for in good ready money, and where justice is by law denied to him who has not the wherewithal to pay for […]

Montaigne 1.24

Now, I say that not only in medicine, but in several more certain arts, there is a good deal of luck. Why should we not attribute the poetic flights which ravish and transport their author out of himself to his good luck, since he himself confesses that they exceed his power and ability, and acknowledges […]

Montaigne 1.25

We labour but to cram our memory, and leave the understanding and the conscience empty. Even as the birds sometimes fly in search of grain, and bring it in their beaks without tasting it, to feed their young, so do our pedants go picking knowledge out of books, carrying it at the end of their […]

Montaigne 1.26

Vanity & Vexation And besides, I do not compete wholesale with those old champions, and body to body; I do so by repetitions, by frequent and light attacks. I do not stubbornly grapple with them, but only try their strength, and if I try to keep pace with them, I do so hesitatingly. If I […]

Crambe repetita (39)

Montaigne, Essays.

Montaigne 1.27

Vainglory and curiosity are the two scourges of our soul. The latter prompts us to thrust our noses into everything, and the former forbids us to leave anything unresolved and undecided (182). Doubt concerning the ‘miraculous’ spread of information – such one knowing the results of a battle three days away within the hour. Odd […]

Montaigne 1.28

I cannot allow those other common friendships to be placed in the same line with ours. I have as much knowledge of them as another, and of the most perfect of their kind, but I should not advise any one to measure them with the same rule; he would be much mistaken (190). anachronism –entry […]

Montaigne 1.29

Medice, cura teipsum. And what are these essays but grotesque and monstrous bodies, pieced together of different members, without any definite shape, without any order, coherence, or proportion, except they be accidental? – ‘Of Friendship’ (183) * * * These poems may be seen elsewhere. – Dedication of 29 sonnets (196)

Montaigne 1.30

vos conturbemini. For to him whom fasting would make more healthful and more sprightly, and to him to whose palate fish were more acceptable than flesh, the prescription of these would have no curative effect; no more than in the other sort of physic, where drugs have no effect upon him who swallows them with […]

Montaigne 1.31

America (1580), by by Theodor Galle after Jan van der Straet …but hold! they don’t wear trousers (215). Montaigne’s essay ‘Of Cannibals’ covers a great deal of ground and, if it does not reach the heights of ‘Of Moderation’, nonetheless typifies his style. In the course of the essay he considers bravery, relative morality, difference […]

Montaigne 1.32

‘Contre les astrologues’, Gilles Corrozet, Hecatomgraphie (1540) We can neither understand the arbitrary and personal meaning of the stars, nor why Heliogabalus died in a privy.1 Montaigne seems to suggest that we should be content with not knowing and, while he would believe in a greater meaning for these things – a meaning perceptible only […]

ennui ensues

Sunshine, from The Illustrated London News (1865) Peter Toohey’s Boredom: A Lively History is a competent bit of work, hitting the key surface points of the topic, from Aristotle to Heidegger, with an obligatory early twenty-first-century excursus on neuroscience. It is, as the acknowledgements give away, a commissioned book – an editor’s idea of something […]

Montaigne 3.10

Men let themselves out to hire; their faculties are not for themselves, but for those to whom they have enslaved themselves; ’tis their tenants occupy them, not themselves. This common humour pleases not me. We must be thrifty of the liberty of our souls, and never let it out but upon just occasions, which are […]

Montaigne 3.11

Truth and lies are faced alike; their port, taste, and proceedings are the same, and we look upon them with the same eye. I find that we are not only remiss in defending ourselves from deceit, but that we seek and offer ourselves to be gulled; we love to entangle ourselves in vanity, as a […]

Montaigne 3.12

Four (of eight) heads of Socratesfrom Lavater’s Lectures on Physiognomy (p. 160) It is a great thing to have been able to put such order into ideas as pure as those of a child that, without altering or stretching them, he produced from them the finest results of our mind. The mind he shows us […]

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