-3.MONTAIGNE: FATHER OF THE ESSAY Called the "father of the familiar essay", Michel de Montaigne, born in 1533, was one of the world's greatest essayists. Although both the Greeks and Romans had written essays, Montaigne resurrected the form, named it, and made it popular. His wisdom, curiosity and straightforwardness has set an example for other famous essayists up to the present day. As a young man, Montaigne held a series of government posts and spent much time at the French royal court. In 1568 his father died, and as the eldest living son, Montaigne inherited the estate, which enabled him to retire to the family chateau and begin to write. He published the first two books of essays in 1580, and a third book in 1588. Montaigne, a sceptic, was not content to take matters at face value. He asked questions and was curious about people and their motives. He tried to find the reasons why men and women acted as they did. His keen interest in the world around him led him to write on a wide variety of subjects. Montaigne's essays offer a remarkably complete picture of his life and thoughts, and of the age in which he lived.
Though the Greeks and Romans had written essays, Montaigne ------ .
had the difficult job of translating all of them into French
was the last modern European to practise the art of doing so
is the person responsible for making them what they are today
wrote ones that were nearly as popular as the old Greek ones
merely copied what they had done and called it his own work
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