Montaigne, Montesquieu et Mauriac : trois grands auteurs locaux, mais aussi trois châteaux viticoles en ... 15 05 new 2012 vintage "The greatest thing in the world is knowing oneself to be. "(Written on the bottle Quote Trials)
Perhaps, perhaps. But apart from the passages in King Lear and The Tempest, the attempts to establish the direct influence of Montaigne on Shakespeare have never seemed fully and decisively convincing. The problem is only in part one of dating: Though Florio’s Montaigne was published in 1603, at least three years after the probable composition and performance of Hamlet, Shakespeare could have seen a manuscript of Florio’s translation which, licensed for publication and referred to by Cornwallis in 1600, was evidently in circulation well before the first printing. The more intractable problem has to do with a shared historical moment, a shared grappling with pressing questions of faith, consciousness, and identity, and even, thanks to Florio, a shared language. Did Shakespeare really need Montaigne to think about the relation between imagination, ecstasy, and the beating of the pulse?
Given Montaigne’s expression of this conception of the self as a fragmented and ever-changing entity, it should come as no surprise that we find contradictions throughout the Essays . Indeed, one of the apparent contradictions in Montaigne’s thought concerns his view of the self. While on the one hand he expresses the conception of the self outlined in the passage above, in the very same essay - as if to illustrate the principle articulated above - he asserts that his self is unified by his judgment, which has remained essentially the same his entire life. Such apparent contradictions, in addition to Montaigne’s style and the structure that he gives his book, complicate the task of reading and have understandably led to diverse interpretations of its contents.