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date: 05 December 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Montaigne’s Essays are, in part, a reflection on the ongoing negotiation between the objects, aims, and uses of modern monumental memory, on the one hand, and postmodern plural memory, on the other. Written in the throes of the French Wars of Religion, the Essays grapple with proliferating and inevitably conflicting contributions to the collective memory bank. Montaigne unequivocally refuses to monumentalize memory, ultimately providing a model of a deep, and deeply dialogical, engagement with plural memories. The kind of memory that digital networks facilitate in the global age is unstable, dynamic, and polyvalent in a way that Montaigne’s Essays both perform and endorse. This is why, in their commitment to probing both the depth and the range of human experience, Montaigne’s Essays remain a record of and a template for productive ways to imagine the dignity of memory in our own age of variety and vicissitude.

Keywords: memory, Montaigne, vicissitude, experience, memorable, Renaissance, Wars of Religion, monument, networks

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