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Caleb Lewis
Caleb Lewis

The Father Essay



During his lifetime, Montaigne was admired more as a statesman than as an author. The tendency in his essays to digress into anecdotes and personal ruminations was seen as detrimental to proper style rather than as an innovation, and his declaration that "I am myself the matter of my book" was viewed by his contemporaries as self-indulgent. In time, however, Montaigne came to be recognized as embodying, perhaps better than any other author of his time, the spirit of freely entertaining doubt that began to emerge at that time. He is most famously known for his skeptical remark, ''Que sçay-je?" ("What do I know?", in Middle French; now rendered as "Que sais-je?" in modern French).




the father essay



Montaigne was born in the Aquitaine region of France, on the family estate Château de Montaigne in a town now called Saint-Michel-de-Montaigne, close to Bordeaux. The family was very wealthy. His great-grandfather, Ramon Felipe Eyquem, had made a fortune as a herring merchant - and had bought the estate in 1477, thus becoming the Lord of Montaigne. His father, Pierre Eyquem, Seigneur of Montaigne, was a French Catholic soldier in Italy for a time, and had also been the mayor of Bordeaux.[5]


Although there were several families bearing the patronym "Eyquem" in Guyenne, his father's family is thought to have had some degree of Marrano (Spanish and Portuguese Jewish) origins,[7] while his mother, Antoinette López de Villanueva, was a convert to Protestantism.[8] His maternal grandfather, Pedro Lopez,[9] from Zaragoza, was from a wealthy Marrano (Sephardic Jewish) family, that had converted to Catholicism.[10][11][12][13] His maternal grandmother, Honorette Dupuy, was from a Catholic family in Gascony, France.[14]


During a great part of Montaigne's life his mother lived near him, and even survived him; but she is mentioned only twice in his essays. Montaigne's relationship with his father however is frequently reflected upon and discussed in his essays.[15]


Montaigne's education began in early childhood, and followed a pedagogical plan, that his father had developed, refined by the advice of the latter's humanist friends. Soon after his birth Montaigne was brought to a small cottage, where he lived the first three years of life in the sole company of a peasant family, in order to, according to the elder Montaigne, "draw the boy close to the people, and to the life conditions of the people, who need our help".[16] After these first spartan years Montaigne was brought back to the château.


Another objective was for Latin to become his first language. The intellectual education of Montaigne was assigned to a German tutor (a doctor named Horstanus, who could not speak French). His father hired only servants who could speak Latin, and they also were given strict orders always to speak to the boy in Latin. The same rule applied to his mother, father, and servants, who were obliged to use only Latin words he employed; and thus they acquired a knowledge of the very language his tutor taught him. Montaigne's Latin education was accompanied by constant intellectual and spiritual stimulation. He was familiarized with Greek by a pedagogical method that employed games, conversation, and exercises of solitary meditation, rather than the more traditional books.[17]


The atmosphere of the boy's upbringing engendered in him a spirit of "liberty and delight" - that he would later describe as making him "relish...duty by an unforced will, and of my own voluntary motion...without any severity or constraint". His father had a musician wake him every morning, playing one instrument or another;[18] and an epinettier (with a zither) was the constant companion to Montaigne and his tutor, playing tunes to alleviate boredom and tiredness.


Following the petition of his father, Montaigne started to work on the first translation of the Catalan monk Raymond Sebond's Theologia naturalis, which he published a year after his father's death in 1568 (in 1595 Sebond's Prologue was put on the Index Librorum Prohibitorum because of its declaration that the Bible is not the only source of revealed truth). Montaigne also published a posthumous edition of the works of his friend, Boétie.[26]


In 1578 Montaigne, whose health had always been excellent, started suffering from painful kidney stones, a tendency he inherited from his father's family. Throughout this illness he would have nothing to do with doctors or drugs.[5] From 1580 to 1581 Montaigne traveled in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Italy, partly in search of a cure, establishing himself at Bagni di Lucca, where he took the waters. His journey was also a pilgrimage to the Holy House of Loreto, to which he presented a silver relief (depicting him, his wife, and their daughter, kneeling before the Madonna) considering himself fortunate that it should be hung on a wall within the shrine.[30] He kept a journal, recording regional differences and customs[31] - and a variety of personal episodes, including the dimensions of the stones he succeeded in expelling. This was published much later, in ?1774?, after its discovery in a trunk, that is displayed in his tower.[32]


While in the city of Lucca in 1581 he learned that, like his father before him, he had been elected mayor of Bordeaux. He thus returned and served as mayor. He was re-elected in 1583 and served until 1585, again moderating between Catholics and Protestants. The plague broke out in Bordeaux toward the end of his second term in office, in 1585. In 1586 the plague and the French Wars of Religion prompted him to leave his château for two years.[5]


His humanism finds expression in his Essais, a collection of a large number of short subjective essays on various topics published in 1580 that were inspired by his studies in the classics, especially by the works of Plutarch and Lucretius.[39] Montaigne's stated goal was to describe humans, and especially himself, with utter frankness.


Inspired by his consideration of the lives and ideals of the leading figures of his age, he finds the great variety and volatility of human nature to be its most basic features. He describes his own poor memory, his ability to solve problems and mediate conflicts without truly getting emotionally involved, his disdain for the human pursuit of lasting fame, and his attempts to detach himself from worldly things to prepare for his timely death. He writes about his disgust with the religious conflicts of his time. He believed that humans are not able to attain true certainty. The longest of his essays, Apology for Raymond Sebond, marking his adoption of Pyrrhonism,[40] contains his famous motto, "What do I know?"


Montaigne considered marriage necessary for the raising of children but disliked strong feelings of passionate love because he saw them as detrimental to freedom. In education, he favored concrete examples and experience over the teaching of abstract knowledge intended to be accepted uncritically. His essay "On the Education of Children" is dedicated to Diana of Foix.


The Essais exercised an important influence on both French and English literature, in thought and style.[41] Francis Bacon's Essays, published over a decade later, first in 1597, usually are presumed to be directly influenced by Montaigne's collection, and Montaigne is cited by Bacon alongside other classical sources in later essays.[42]


Although not a scientist, Montaigne made observations on topics in psychology.[43] In his essays, he developed and explained his observations of these topics. His thoughts and ideas covered topics such as thought, motivation, fear, happiness, child education, experience, and human action. Montaigne's ideas have influenced psychology and are a part of its rich history.


The English essayist William Hazlitt expressed boundless admiration for Montaigne, exclaiming that "he was the first who had the courage to say as an author what he felt as a man. ... He was neither a pedant nor a bigot. ... In treating of men and manners, he spoke of them as he found them, not according to preconceived notions and abstract dogmas".[53] Beginning most overtly with the essays in the "familiar" style in his own Table-Talk, Hazlitt tried to follow Montaigne's example.[54]


In economic terms, families with two full-time working parents are better off than other families. The median household income for families with two full-time working parents and at least one child under 18 at home is $102,400, compared with $84,000 for households where the father works full time and the mother works part time and $55,000 for households where the father works full time and the mother is not employed. But as a new Pew Research Center survey shows, balancing work and family poses challenges for parents. In fact, more than half (56%) of all working parents say this balancing act is difficult. Among working mothers, in particular, 41% report that being a parent has made it harder for them to advance in their career; about half that share of working fathers (20%) say the same. The survey, conducted Sept. 15-Oct. 13, 2015, among 1,807 U.S. parents with children younger than 18, also shows that in two-parent families, parenting and household responsibilities are shared more equally when both the mother and the father work full time than when the father is employed full time and the mother is employed part time or not employed.1 But even in households where both parents work full time, many say a large share of the day-to-day parenting responsibilities falls to mothers.


In households where the father works full time and the mother works part time or not at all, the distribution of labor when it comes to childcare and housekeeping is less balanced. These moms take on more of the responsibility for parenting tasks and household chores than those who work full time.


While mothers and fathers offer somewhat different views of the division of labor in their household, there is general agreement about who in their family is more job- or career-focused. For example, in two-parent households where the mother and father work full time, 62% say both are equally focused on work, while about one-in-five (22%) say the father is more focused and 15% say the mother is. Differences in the responses to this question between mothers and fathers in this type of household are modest. 350c69d7ab


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