By Deborah N. Losse (auth.)
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Additional resources for Montaigne and Brief Narrative Form: Shaping the Essay
When Montaigne rewrites a classical tale, he selects one incident from what may be an extended account. Introducing the single incident with a personal reflection or general remark both personalizes the tale and prepares the reader for what is to follow. In the example below, selected because Montaigne’s affection for Livy is evident, the essayist establishes what he is looking for in illustrious examples from history but lets us know that he will not hesitate to rearrange 22 Montaigne and Brief Narrative Form the textual order of events.
Is typical of the structure of the Renaissance tale. Such 24 Montaigne and Brief Narrative Form interventions and personalized remarks are frequent in Des Périers’s Nouvelles récréations et joyeux devis (Sozzi 1965, 246). 9 In the instance of Montaigne’s account he expresses his indignation at the injustice of condemning Lyncestes on the basis of his bungled self-defense: “Le lieu estonne, l’assistance, l’expectation, lors mesme qu’il n’y va que de l’ambition de bien dire. ” ‘The place, the audience, the anticipation, daze a man even when nothing is at stake but the ambition to speak well.
The essayist’s self-consciousness about his size parallels Philopoemon’s awareness of his lack of physical beauty. Montaigne recounts: Or je suis d’une taille un peu au dessoubs de la moyenne. Ce defaut n’a pas seulement de la laideur, mais encore de l’incommodité; à ceux mesmement qui ont des commandements et des charges; car l’authorité que donne une belle presence et majesté corporelle en est à dire. (II, 640A/485) Now I am a little below medium height. This is not only an ugly defect, but alsoa disadvantage, especially for men in command or office; for the authority givena fine presence and bodily majesty is lacking.
Montaigne and Brief Narrative Form: Shaping the Essay by Deborah N. Losse (auth.)