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date: 27 February 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article explores aspects of Montaigne’s imagination with a focus on questions of conception and generation, volition and cognition, human and animal being. Engaging critically with the reception of early modern theories of the imagination in both poetic and medical discourse, and with a set of now canonical essays in the field (I, 8; II, 6; II, 12 as well as I, 21), it explores a number of resonant themes, tropes, and actions: falling, watching, reading, and (almost) dying. Discussion of Montaigne’s inheritance is best conducted alongside consideration of the complex afterlives of the Essays, and their powerful effects on the imagination of his readers. Particular attention is here paid to a “family” of privileged figures in the writing: monsters, children, and cats, and the argument, throughout, is that the imagination in, and of, Montaigne is best grasped as a distinctly embodied force.

Keywords: Montaigne, imagination, power, conception, human, animal, monsters, cognition, death, inheritance

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