Abstract and Keywords
Montaigne’s name constitutes the memory of the author and incarnates the history of a family and its social ascent. The Eyquems passed from the rank of wealthy bourgeois to the status of “rustic gentlemen” in three generations. In his Essays, Montaigne preferred not to mention the diverse occupations of his forebears, favoring instead the noble lands of Montaigne and considering his castle to be the unique place of residence of his ancestors. “To live nobly” represents a leitmotif and a veritable social aspiration in the Essays. Familial history is most of the time left unmentioned in favor of daily preoccupations and, above all, a way of life regulated by nobility and the knightly spirit. Montaigne learned to use his book as proof of his nobility and to turn it into an object of memory. In the Essays, he poses the problem of his new proper name “Montaigne” in its relationship to reputation.
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