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Montaigne's English JourneyReading the Essays in Shakespeare's Day$
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William M. Hamlin

Print publication date: 2013

Print ISBN-13: 9780199684113

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199684113.001.0001

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On the Tyranny of ‘Custome’

On the Tyranny of ‘Custome’

Ideology and Appropriation

(p.67) 3 On the Tyranny of ‘Custome’
Montaigne's English Journey

William M. Hamlin

Oxford University Press

This chapter deals with English reactions to one of Montaigne's most fundamental concerns: the tyranny of custom, particularly in self-presentation, personal attire, marital sexuality, and societal governance. Moving from the essayist's discussions of law and honour to his ground-breaking views on gender and sexual parity, the chapter traces the ways in which English readers understand and appropriate Montaigne's perspective on diverse custom and practice—and above all his suggestion that cultural diversity may be providential insofar as it aids people in reconciling themselves with humanity's inherently limited comprehension.

Keywords:   Montaigne, Shakespeare, custom, Bacon, early modern reading, Renaissance readership, marginalia, ideology, Florio, sexuality, government

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