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From Algis Valiunas "The Sanest Man Ever" ( The Best Spiritual Writing 2013 by Philip Zaleski )
Montaigne called his book Essais; the French essayer means to attempt, to try out, and the rather archaic English to essay is cognate.
Montaigne's preeminent interest was in human beings. Inhuman nature did not much concern him.
he was an exceedingly bookish man who professed to value learning in the service of moral improvement.
The crucial questions for Montaigne were not the Pascalian obsessions of asking why God put me her and where he will send me when I die, but rather, How do I best spend the time I have been given and which men and women do I really love or admire? It was the life of this world that engaged his passions
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