Sunday's Picture and a Song with a Twist: Michel de Montaigne

Do you suppose Montaigne's red nose has something to do with the Beaujolais Nouveau celebrations ?  Montaigne's shiny foot reminds me of the post about the tradition of rubbing John Harvard's (Harvard University) feet.


A bright red nose. That's what it took for me to finally stop in front of the statue of Michel de Montaigne on Rue des Écoles. All of the other times, I've rushed past without giving this influential French writer another thought.

Rather than the traditional "Sunday's Song", I invite you to listen to an interesting audio clip about Montaigne's life. The first minutes are a bit slow, but Sarah Bakewell quickly warms to the topic. Her book, How to Live: Or A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer, won the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award for Biography.


While I wouldn't have known to attribute the following quotations to Montaigne, these have long been favorites:

A good marriage would be between a blind wife and a deaf husband.

Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom.

The beautiful souls are they that are universal, open, and ready for all things.

The advantage of living is not measured by length, but by use; some men have lived long, and lived little; attend to it while you are in it. It lies in your will, not in the number of years, for you to have lived enough.


Comments

  1. How fascinating. I know nothing about Montaigne until now...and how ironic, that the avenue named after this very deep thinker and profound philosopher, should be lined by shops of the most frivolous and superficial kind..... but there again, when your head hurts from too much thinking, and you are depressed with introspection, escapism is the best form of relief!

    Love Denise

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    1. "Like"....oops, wrong page!

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    2. @Denise, After listening to Sarah Bakewell's enthusiastic descriptions of Montaigne, I'm going to order her book to learn more about him. It was interesting that he overcame his fear of death by having a near-death experience.

      One of the things that I like about Paris is that there's almost always a deeper meaning to things - like street names. Every time that I think that I've made a bit of progress learning about the city's history, I'm reminded of how much I don't know.

      @Nancy, Everything should come with a "like" button, imho!

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  2. I don't know this sculpture, I like it a lot, even with a red nose. Now to listen to the video.

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    1. I particularly like the detailed work of his clothes. Can you imagine wearing one of those collars?

      Did Montaigne's shiny foot remind you of anyone at Pere Lachaise? I still have to write a Victor Noir post.

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  3. The red nose was put there by "Clowns without Borders", as part of their "Opération 1000NR". You can read more about it here: http://www.1000nr.fr/

    But your Beaujolais Nouveau idea is a pretty great one too!

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    1. Ksam, A thousand thanks for telling me about "Opération 1000NR" and "Clowns without Borders"! Their operation certainly created a lot of attention for a very worthy cause.

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  4. Over by the fountain at Daumesnil, all the squirting lion statues had little red noses on them! I read this post before heading out and thought of you! : )

    I hope you had a nice weekend, MK!

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    1. Thanks, Mlle Ella! I hope you had a wonderful weekend, too!

      Did you get any pics of the lions with the little red noses? I've been having a lot of fun taking photos of all the statues I see. Red nosed statues have invaded Paris!

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  5. oh I love the idea of Clowns without Borders!

    The interview video was quite good, really enjoyed it.

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    1. "Clowns without Borders" is an organization that I had heard of but forgotten. I'm happy that they used such a clever way to draw attention to their very important work. They're going to be a meeting about the right's of children tonight.

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  6. Sorry that I reply to your comment here. But on my christmas puzzle, all comments are not visible till november 29th.
    What you write my post about, I feel the same way. These are the moments where I miss my mother even more than usual. xS

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    1. Thanks for your reply, Sanne. I truly enjoyed reading your post about perfume and smell. I just wish that I was better able to read German and didn't have to rely on Google translate because I'm not sure how accurate it is.

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