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date: 19 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article discusses the notion of “the self” in Montaigne. Though this notion did not exist in the French language at that time, Montaigne is often seen as a key thinker in the rise of the modern concept of self. Guided by an overview of the literature addressing this topic, this article explores what the “self” might be for Montaigne and whether he would have used this notion. The answer to this second inquiry is likely negative as, for the essayist, the self cannot be defined nor grasped. This article aims as well to place Montaigne in his own context. It appears he has very clearly expressed a general feeling shared by his contemporaries. This was a feeling of crisis, challenging traditional representations of the human being.

Keywords: self, human being, individual, self-knowledge, Montaigne, private life, Renaissance, Séguier, cultural history

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