Core Curriculum : Literature Humanities

Montaigne > Robert Louis Stevenson's copy

Montaigne. Essays

All the Essays of Michael Seigneur de Montaigne

Translated by Charles Cotton

London: A. Murray, 1869

title page; bookplate; "On Cannibals"


This 1869 translations of the essays of Michel de Montaigne belonged to Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894). We know little of how Stevenson reacted to Montaigne from this book, which is sparsely annotated. The longest essay, “Apology for Raymond Sebond,” receives the most marks in the margin. Montaigne had translated Sebond's treatise on natural theology at his father's request, and completed this essay soon after his father's death. Raymond Sebond was a fifteenth-century Spanish theologian.

We could surmise that Montaigne would have sympathized with Stevenson’s appetite for wandering, one which spurred Stevenson to travel widely in the last decades of the nineteenth century despite poor health. Although the book plate here lists two residences in England, Stevenson ended his life in the South Pacific. Stevenson wrote consistently about his travels but is best known for his fictional works Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.


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