Montaigne
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Montaigne

3.95 (840 ratings by Goodreads)
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Description

'He who thinks freely for himself, honours all freedom on earth.'

Stefan Zweig was already an emigre-driven from a Europe torn apart by brutality and totalitarianism-when he found, in a damp cellar, a copy of Michel de Montaigne's Essais. Montaigne would become Zweig's last great occupation, helping him make sense of his own life and his obsessions-with personal freedom, with the sanctity of the individual. Through his writings on suicide, he would also, finally, lead Zweig to his death.

With the intense psychological acuity and elegant prose so characteristic of Zweig's fiction, this account of Montaigne's life asks how we ought to think, and how to live. It is an intense and wonderful insight into both subject and biographer.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 120 x 165 x 15.24mm | 158.76g
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 1782271031
  • 9781782271031
  • 36,234

Review Text

Written during the Second World War, Zweig's typically passionate and readable biography of Michel de Montaigne, is also a heartfelt argument for the importance of intellectual freedom, tolerance and humanism. Zweig draws strong parallels between Montaigne's age, when Europe was torn in two by conflict between Catholicism and Protestantism, and his own, in which the twin fanaticisms of Fascism and Communism were on the verge of destroying the pan-continental liberal culture he was born into, and loved dearly. Just as Montaigne sought to remain aloof from the factionalism of his day, so Zweig tried to the last to defend his freedom of thought, and argue for peace and compromise. One of the final works Zweig wrote before his suicide, this is both a brilliantly impassioned portrait of a great mind, and a moving plea for tolerance in a world ruled by cruelty.
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Review quote

Zweig's accumulated historical and cultural studies remain a body of achievement almost too impressive to take in -- Clive James Stefan Zweig's time of oblivion isover for good... it's good to have him back -- Salman Rushdie The New York Times [During his lifetime] arguably themost widely read and translated serious author in the world -- John Fowles An invaluable addition to Zweig's canon, casting as much light on the author's own preoccupation with personal and individual liberty as it does on Montaigne Independent Thanks to Stone's assiduous translation, Zweig's fascinating meditation on the writer in whom he saw himself mirrored appears now for the first time in English Publishers Weekly A beautiful, perhaps even the best, reflection on the great French essayist -- Nicholas Lezard Guardian Books of the Year Will Stone's translation perfectly captures [Zweig's] cultivated Viennese flavour and pacy aphoristic elegance The Tablet
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About Stefan Zweig

Stefan Zweig was born in 1881 in Vienna, into a wealthy Austrian-Jewish family. He studied in Berlin and Vienna and was first known as a poet and translator, then as a biographer. Between the wars, Zweig was an international bestseller with a string of hugely popular novellas including Letter from an Unknown Woman, Amok and Fear. In 1934, with the rise of Nazism, he left Austria, and lived in London, Bath and New York-a period during which he produced his most celebrated works: his only novel, Beware of Pity, and his memoir, The World of Yesterday. He eventually settled in Brazil, where in 1942 he and his wife were found dead in an apparent double suicide. Much of his work is available from Pushkin Press.
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Rating details

840 ratings
3.95 out of 5 stars
5 28% (234)
4 47% (393)
3 20% (166)
2 4% (32)
1 2% (15)
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