AofPE: Of Books

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

AotPE: Art of the Personal Essay
Happy Labor Day everyone~~ (^_^)(^_^)

When reading “On Books by Michael Equeum de Montaigne, I found it hard to concentrate. It was due to the bothersome nature of the first page. Perhaps to unfortunate luck, or just coincidence, my first page of the essay resembled my school notes when I’m using a pen that’s almost dried bout but not completely. The first line goes from dark to light, then the next line becomes dark, then light again. It’s quite bothersome. My notes, at least, are uniformly the same color.

Michael de Montaigne’s “Of Books” is quite unlike the other essays that I’ve read. First, de Montaigne reveals a lot about himself. Montaigne is very introspective. The other essays that I read were more about the world around the writer than about themselves. Second, Montaigne likes to finish his sentences with quotes. The quotes are fitting and appropriate, so I can see why he chooses to do what he does. Montaigne explains, “Let people see in what I borrow whether I have known how to choose what would enhance my theme. For I make others says what I cannot say so well, how through the weakness of my language, now through the weakness of my own understanding.”

In “Of Books”, Montaigne touches on many topics. He starts out explaining himself and then, Montaigne moves to reading. This is where Montaigne starts quoting Greeks and Roman writers, discussing his own preferences on books. Montaigne’s transition is flawless and I marvel at his skill .I’ve always felt my own transitions were lacking, although I’ve never been criticized by my teachers as so.

I’ve learned in “Of Books” a lot about the Greek and Roman classics and the lives of the authors and Montaigne. I discovered that Montaigne was a very vocal person, even towards topics he shouldn’t be arguing about. He then goes on to describe his distaste toward Plato (!! He’s daring!) and later, Aesop’s Fables. Montaigne believes that people that understand the Gables as allegories are only analyzing the stories superficially, and there’s a deeper meaning to the stories. In many ways, I feel the same as Montaigne, making remarks about things that are out of reach. What I like to talk about, books, I talk about them in a way that goes past good or bad. I suppose, I’m doing the exact things that a writing teacher told me not to do, making comments that are not parallel with my education. (The teacher said, “You don’t have a Ph.D in Literature. You can’t make these comments.”)

Montaigne goes on about his preferences and interests, books and history. He goes through all of these, leaving bits and pieces of himself along the way. I finished “of Books” feelings that I had gained a lot of knowledge on the world, writers, and of Montaigne himself. 


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