What Do I Know?

What Do I Know? Essential Essays

Hardback (05 Oct 2023)

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Publisher's Synopsis

A fresh new translation of Michel de Montaigne's most profound, searching essays, with an introduction from Yiyun Li, author of The Book of Goose

This gift-worthy collection of 16 essays by "the father of the essay" is a short, accessible introduction to his work, offering a fascinating glimpse inside a great Renaissance mind

"I myself am the subject of my book." So wrote Montaigne in the introductory note to his Essays, the book that marked the birth of the modern essay form.

In works of probing intelligence and idiosyncratic observation, Montaigne moved from intimate personal observation to roving theories of the conduct of kings and cannibals, the effects of sorrow and fear, and the fallibility of human memory and judgement.

This new selection of Montaigne's 16 most ingenious essays appears in a lucid new translation by the prize-winning David Coward. What Do I Know? gives the modern reader profound insight into a great Renaissance mind.

What Do I Know? is divided into 3 sections and includes:


  • On Sorrow, On how our Actions are to be judged by the Intention, On Idling, On Liars, That we should not be considered happy until we are dead

  • On Fear, To tell true from false, it is folly to rely on our own capacities, How we can cry and laugh at the same thing, On Solitude, On the Uncertainty of our Judgement, On Drunkenness

  • On Cannibals, On the Inequality that exists between us, On Sleep, On our lease of life, On Carriages

Book information

ISBN: 9781782278818
Publisher: Steerforth Press
Imprint: Pushkin Press
Pub date:
DEWEY: 844.3
DEWEY edition: 23
Language: English
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 254g
Height: 205mm
Width: 134mm
Spine width: 20mm