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The School of Montaigne in Early Modern EuropeVolume Two: The Reader-Writer$
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Warren Boutcher

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198739661

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198739661.001.0001

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The Essais Framed for Modern Intellectual Life

The Essais Framed for Modern Intellectual Life

(p.372) 2.6 The Essais Framed for Modern Intellectual Life
The School of Montaigne in Early Modern Europe

Warren Boutcher

Oxford University Press

The core topic of 2.6 is two modern reader-writers of Donald Frame’s American translation of the Essais (Gore Vidal and David Denby). We consider a range of related intellectual contexts for Frame’s work, a product of the culture of liberal education and of American liberal individualism: modern, pedagogical versions of ‘human philosophy’; the educational goals of elite institutions such as the École Normale Supérieure and Columbia University; the legacy of Pierre Villey’s work in twentieth-century Montaigne studies. We see how twentieth-century humanists in America and Europe called up the real person ‘Montaigne’ from behind his text and made him explain that text’s value to idealist programmes of general literary education. The chapter includes discussions of figures in the German idealist tradition such as Auerbach,and Burckhardt, as well as the critic of Renaissance ‘self-fashioning’, Stephen Greenblatt, and the British critic Terence Cave.

Keywords:   Stephen Greenblatt, self-fashioning, Burckhardt, Auerbach, Terence Cave, German idealism, Montaigne studies, Gore Vidal, liberal education, American liberal individualism

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