Montaigne's Essays

English Translation

Michael Dirda: Well, Montaigne is so archetypally human and humane--he
is, as I've said before, certainly among the most admirable people who
have ever written. His last essay, "On Experience" is one of the great
nonfiction reading experiences of a lifetime, while his thoughts on
sex are amazingly insightful and modern. I love the fact that you find
them in the coyly titled "On Some Lines of Vergil."  There are lots of
translations of Montaigne and nearly all of them can be commended in
some fashion. John Florio's Renaissance version was read by
Shakespeare (who borrowed from it), and is an established
classic. Cohen is a good all around French translator and you won't go
wrong with him. But two modern versions demand particular attention,
as both were done by the most eminent Montaigne scholars of,
respectively, this generation and the previous one: Michael Screech is
an extremely learned authority on 16th ce-ntury French thought and his
version is used in the most recent Penguins. Donald Frame is the
author of a standard life of Montaigne and his translation was
commended by my favorite literary critic Cyril Connolly.

Translations in english:

The Charles Cotton translation (1686) is freely available:

Donald M. Frame's translation (1958) is available from Everyman's:

Michael Screech's translation (1993) is available from Penguin.