Posted by: W. E. Poplaski | April 23, 2009

Weekly Read-Along—April 24, 2009: Of Cannibals

Material for the Stout-Hearted Reader to Ruminate

♦ Essays, Lectures & Speeches ♦

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Michel de Montaigne (1533 – 1592) was a French writer of the Renaissance period and is best-known for his efforts to popularize the essay in its modern form.  His essays are noted for their liberal use of anecdotes and asides.

 

This week’s text is Charles Cotton’s 1877 translation, “Of Cannibals”, which was first published in Montaigne’s book Essais (1575).  An earlier English translation was made by John Florio in 1603.  It is likely this essay inspired Shakespeare (1564 – 1616) to write ‘The Tempest’.

 

In the essay, Montaigne reflects on a meeting he had—years earlier—with a group of Tupinamba Indians brought to France from Brazil.  He describes the Tupinamba as noble savages uncorrupted by civilization.  However, there is no evidence to support Montaigne’s claim that the Tupinamba were in fact cannibals. 

 

Join others from around the world in this weekly reading event!  You can find the text at these websites: 

 

http://essays.quotidiana.org/montaigne/cannibals/

http://victorian.lang.nagoya-u.ac.jp/victorianweb/courses/nonfiction/montaigne/index.html

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