Manifestation of Renaissance traditions in Michel Montaigne's "Essays" (with quatations in Russian)

Essay by njutka September 2004

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The cultural development of Europe between the 14th and 17th centuries was named after a French word "renaissance" meaning "rebirth". This time came after the Middle Ages and it brought different traditions to art and literature. Renaissance - the time of late discoveries, such as: revival of the ancient cultures and traditions, flourishing of religion, a new evaluation of time, the idea of equality of people and the establishment of a new ideology, perfectness of the world and life - were the main points which opened a new vision to literature and art.

The ideas of the Renaissance were established in Italy then came to France, Spain, Netherlands, and Germany. Renaissance traditions in art and literature came to England and to the rest of Europe together with the ideas of the Reformation (the establishment of the national Church). People started to ask questions and realize very essential things they even didn't think before.

Man found out that he is not the only creature made according to the God. People understood that they were given a freedom of choice, religion and Holy Word. From that time man considered to be active and responsible. The interest of the human soul and the creation of a new philosophy formulate the basic questions of the Renaissance.

Michel Montaigne (1533-1592) one of the greatest writers and philosophers at the period of French Renaissance is remembered for his Essays (1572-80, 1588) on the new ideas and personalities of the time, which introduced a new literary genre to accommodate what Matthew Arnold was later to call "the dialogue of the mind with itself". Montaigne's tactics is to discuss things from different points of view and leave the reader to decide himself. His great pieces of writing were written only according to his own reasoning and not...