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 weak memory and the difficulty of recollecting things and expressing things well:1
And when once you are on the high road of narrative, it is difficult to stop and cut it short […] even among those who keep to the point I know some who are unable, though willing, to stop short in their career. While searching about in their mind for a point of conclusion, they go maundering on, dragging their feet like a man faint from weakness (28f.).
The poorly spun narrative being thus almost as exasperating as the overly embroidered one, that shifts its hues on each retelling.
- This is a bit of a fib, as it makes it seem as though I’ve been pondering the essay thoughtfully for some measurable amount of time, when the sad truth of the matter is that I hastily skimmed it only a few minutes ago after having forgotten all about it.