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Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently$
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Steven Rendall

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151807.001.0001

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(p.73) 5 Expropriation
Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently

Steven Rendall

Oxford University Press

In Plato's Symposium, Socrates reports a conversation he says he had with Diotima, in which she explains that all men seek fame and immortality, and suggests that this is why they have children. Montaigne says virtually the same in his essay ‘De l'affection desperes aux enfans’ and alludes to a similar passage in Plato's Phaedrus. Both Plato and Montaigne also see in writing an inherent, inescapable danger of expropriation. The threat of expropriation weighs heavily on the Essais, appearing at the outset in the guise of the goddess Fama. Meanwhile, the interpreter's natural but futile desire is to restore a unitary, original meaning that lies beyond his grasp, but no interpreter can avoid imposing his own perspective on a text.

Keywords:   expropriation, Socrates, Plato, Phaedrus, Symnposium, Fama, interpreter

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