Saturday, November 23, 2013

Montaigne's Tower

The Norton anthology mentioned in the headnotes on Montaigne that he wrote his essays and spent most of his time in a circular tower.  It turns out that the tower is still standing (although the rest of the château burned down in the 19th century).  The library and study were originally covered in paintings and inscriptions, only a few of which still survive.  Many of the quotes that appear constantly in his essays are carved into the joists in the library:


The above picture translates (I think) as "I am a human, to me nothing" and presumably originally read "I am a human and I consider nothing that is human alien to me.", which is a quote from Terence mentioned by the Norton in connection to Montaigne.  I think this explains why he inserts so many semi-relevant quotations into his essays--he was constantly surrounded by them.




3 comments:

Miranda Martinez said...

It doesn't surprise me that Montaigne would live in a place surrounded by the quotations, thoughts, and ideas that he considered so fundamental to every day life - especially to his own. It does seems somewhat sad to me that someone with such a opulent mind would choose to remain so solitary. I guess it makes sense, though, since he viewed humans and their actions so radically differently from others. I can only imagine how peaceful it must have been for Montaigne to do his work in the "presence" of his idols and predecessors.

Megan Hoolahan said...

It does seem strange that he would choose to live so secluded and surrounded by these quotations and such. Yet you are right, it does make sense since he thought so differently than others.

Joseph D'Amico said...

I think the tower looks pretty cool. I wonder what the whole building looked like when it still stood; it was probably pretty magnificent. As for the interior of the tower, the art that was still there was pretty nice, and I have to admit I liked the Latin quotes, even if they were incomplete.