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date: 21 February 2019

Abstract and Keywords

In this article, we reflect on the relationship between La Boétie and Montaigne from a historical perspective, using the little evidence we have related to their brief relationship (c. 1559–August 1563). This principally consists of the three Latin poems that La Boétie addressed to Montaigne, which reveal to us an unequal relationship. After La Boétie’s death at thirty-two, it is necessary to evaluate the portion of “literary” reconstruction that entered into the (re)presentation of this friendship, from the moment when the surviving friend, plunged, if he is to be believed, into dismay, has put, “into my head this daydream of meddling with writing.” From 1572 to 1592, the relationship evolves between the survivor and the much-admired “great man.” The difficult problem of the dissemination of La Boétie’s key text leads to a progressive expulsion of the texts of the author of the Discourse on Voluntary Servitude from the Book of Remembrance (Essays).

Keywords: La Boétie, Montaigne, Discourse on Voluntary Servitude, friendship, relationship, Poemata, death

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