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'Double et divers': Writing Doubly in Montaigne's Essais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)320-340
JournalModern Language Review
Volume112
Issue number2
Early online date1 Apr 2017
DOIs
Accepted/In press15 Sep 2016
E-pub ahead of print1 Apr 2017
PublishedApr 2017

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Abstract

‘Je peins principalement mes cogitations’, wrote Montaigne, ‘subject informe.’ But what form of writing is capable of such depiction? Starting with his description of ‘nostre entendement’ as ‘double et divers’, I argue that Montaigne takes two models of thinking about irresolution, one stretching across a diversity of opinion, the other proposing an at least hypothetically endless project of writing, only to collapse them both. I suggest that, in remoulding these linear forms of irresolution, he forges a way of writing ‘doubly’ and making his text simultaneously diverse. Using ‘Nos affections s'emportent au-delà de nous’ (i. 3), I show this in practice.

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