04 May 2013

Montaigne’s Manuscript Discovered

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Phys.org:

Researchers from the University of Warwick and the Université François-Rabelais Tours have identified the first manuscript known to have belonged to the eminent French essayist, Michel de Montaigne.

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2013-05-manuscript-discovery-montaignes-library.html#jCp

Of Montaigne’s celebrated library, thought to have contained around 1,000 books, only 101 are known to have survived. Until now, no manuscript (other than Montaigne’s own annotations in printed works) was known to bear the mark of the writer’s provenance.

The sixteenth-century manuscript, held at the Herzog August Bibliothek at Wolfenbüttel, contains copious notes by an unknown individual based on lectures on Roman law by the distinguished jurisprudent and historian François Baudouin. Montaigne’s Latin signature ‘Michaël Montanus’ is clearly visible on the manuscript’s title page.

Ingrid De Smet of the Centre for the Study of the Renaissance, University of Warwick, explained the significance of her discovery:

“The identification of Montaigne’s ownership of this work is exciting for the study of sixteenth-century French intellectual culture. It confirms Montaigne’s legal interests and potentially opens new vistas for the reading of his essays and the understandings of his political views.”

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