The Complete Essays of Montaigne

  • by Michel Eyquem de Montaigne, Donald M. Frame (translator)
  • Narrated by Christopher Lane
  • 49 hrs and 39 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

“A faithful translation is rare; a translation which preserves intact the original text is very rare; a perfect translation of Montaigne appears impossible. Yet Donald Frame has realized this feat. One does not seem to be reading a translation, so smooth and easy is the style; at each moment, one seems to be listening to Montaigne himself - the freshness of his ideas, the unexpected choice of words. Frame has kept everything.” (Andre Maurois, The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

a singular experience

Montaigne is a seminal French Renaissance essayist, so the content of this work is both influential but also, in its totality, rather esoteric. Having wanted for years to read the essays, but been daunted by the language and the length, I made the very good choice of listening to them instead, and by that means have been able to engage with them all. It remains something of a marathon because, unlike other long audio-books, there is no "story" to help you along and I did have to rely on systematic creation of bookmarks to ensure smooth progress without inadvertently skipping backwards or forwards.

That said, this is an excellent way to come to grips with and to enjoy Montaigne. Top marks to Christopher Lane who interprets faultlessly everything from erudite translations from Latin to the most graphic physical details, not forgetting all the footnotes. Top marks too to Donald Frame for such a comprehensible translation.

Aided by these two interpreters, Montaigne's work can afford you well over 45 hours of real interest, with only a very small percentage which is now beyond the non-specialist. The immediacy and freshness of his style, the pithiness of his comments, the details we get of his life and that of his family and his famed friend La Boetie, the copious illustration of philosophical precepts with lively, concrete examples, and much more, ensure that the Essays still speak directly to the reader/listener.

Listening to this audiobook is a serious undertaking but it is one which I very much value.
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- Curran

A great way to enjoy a mammoth work

If you could sum up The Complete Essays of Montaigne in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, resonating, amusing.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Complete Essays of Montaigne?

Essay after essay so much of what Montaigne writes is still relevant today and surprisingly easy to understand/relate to.

Have you listened to any of Christopher Lane’s other performances? How does this one compare?


Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

No - it is not the format for that, the individual essays are complete in themselves. You do want to hear the next intriguing view he has but also sometimes you pause to consider that particular thought before heading off to the next one. As a physical book it is something to dip into or it seems too intimidating - as an audio book you feel able to tackle the whole work comfortably!

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- Ms

Book Details

  • Release Date: 20-09-2011
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio