Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Essay: "On Some Verses of Virgil." Michel de Montaigne (1)

Review: The essay is 54 pages long and interspersed with lines from Virgil’s poetry. The whole thing is one continuous digression. He begins with old age, switches to marriage and then the essay becomes a sex manual on just about every aspect of the subject that the reader can imagine, with a three-page digression on writing.

Quotes: [The most prurient discussions from this essay will not be reproduced here. For that, you’ll have to read the essay.]

“Once I used to mark the burdensome and gloomy days as extraordinary. These are now my ordinary ones; the extraordinary are the fine, serene ones.”

“…so easily is my habit of body beginning to apply itself to illness.”

“Our masters are wrong in that, seeking the causes of extraordinary flights of our soul, they have attributed some to a divine ecstasy, to love, to warlike fierceness, to poetry, to wine, but have not assigned a proper share to health….”

“I hate a surly and gloomy spirit that slides over the pleasures of life and seizes and feeds upon its misfortunes….”

“I am annoyed that my essays serve the ladies only as a public article of furniture, and article for the parlor.”

To be continued.

The Art of the Personal Essay. Ed. Phillip Lopate. New York: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995.

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