The Risks: Avoiding Failure in Solitude

Having circled around solitude for the past five days, I can now return to Montaigne's original essay on the subject, On Solitude, and look to fill in some of the detail. One of the weaknesses of my original approach to Montaigne -- in addition to treating all essays as if they deserved equal treatment when … Continue reading The Risks: Avoiding Failure in Solitude

Animal Companions: Solitude and Folly

There's always this tension in Montaigne's discussions of solitude between the negative reasons for seeking it and the positive results that can come of it. I sometimes wonder which one is the rationale and which is the rationalization. Does he come up with positive attributes of solitude to put a happy face on his need … Continue reading Animal Companions: Solitude and Folly

Self Knowledge: Solitude and the Return to Self

After focusing briefly on the negative, reactive reasons for withdrawing from the world, Montaigne concluded that same essay On Vanity with the positive, by focusing on what there is to gain by muting the outside world. First, he lets out one of his most endearing bits of self criticism: Being a citizen of no city, … Continue reading Self Knowledge: Solitude and the Return to Self

Sticky Social Situations: Why Montaigne Sought Solitude

So maybe this will become an everyday thing after all ... Let me take a moment to recap. In the first post of this series, I laid out Montaigne's very stark case for solitude and how we need to create rooms for ourselves, where we can make the many facets of our personalities express themselves … Continue reading Sticky Social Situations: Why Montaigne Sought Solitude

Our Social Natures: More Thoughts on Solitude

Yesterday as I kicked off The Montaigne Project anew, I pledged to take it easier this time, perhaps writing just an essay a week. This morning, I feel compelled to go again. So be it. The greatest cure for writer's block, if such a thing exists at all, is to promise yourself not to write … Continue reading Our Social Natures: More Thoughts on Solitude

On Solitude: Montaigne in the Age of Coronavirus

It is time for me to return to the essays of Michel de Montaigne, this time not with a frantic, headlong project, but rather an attempt to find new insights from the sage in a time of uncertainty and upheaval. Having written extensively about Montaigne in the past, I sense that he has something especially … Continue reading On Solitude: Montaigne in the Age of Coronavirus