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Montaigne and Shakspere   By: (1856-1933)

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Montaigne and Shakspere is a thought-provoking literary work penned by historian and critic J. M. Robertson. Delving into an intriguing comparison between two literary giants, Michel de Montaigne and William Shakespeare, this book offers a unique and refreshing perspective on their works and themes.

Robertson's extensive research is evident throughout the book, as he meticulously examines various aspects of both Montaigne's essays and Shakespeare's plays. By drawing parallels between their writing styles, themes, and philosophical ideas, he successfully highlights the significant influence each had on the other, despite the fact that they lived in different countries and at different times.

One of the book's strengths lies in its ability to provide a comprehensive overview of Montaigne's and Shakespeare's works, making it accessible to readers who may not be familiar with every aspect of their writing. Robertson carefully selects quotes from their essays and plays, providing readers with a taste of the timeless wisdom and thought-provoking ideas present in their works.

Moreover, Robertson's analysis of various themes, such as human nature, skepticism, and the concept of self, brings a fresh perspective to the table. By juxtaposing Montaigne's introspective essays with Shakespeare's multifaceted characters, Robertson successfully highlights the universality of human experiences and emotions, which continue to resonate with readers today.

However, while the book is insightful and enlightening, it can at times feel dense and academic. Robertson's writing style, although eloquent, may be overwhelming for casual readers who are not well-versed in literary criticism. Nonetheless, those who are willing to invest time and effort into unraveling the intricacies and connections between Montaigne and Shakespeare will find the book rewarding.

Montaigne and Shakspere is a valuable addition to the literature on these two iconic figures, shedding new light on their shared philosophies and literary achievements. Robertson's meticulous research and thought-provoking analysis make this book an essential read for anyone interested in the overlap between literature, philosophy, and the human condition.

First Page:

Transcribers note: Old spellings of the words have been retained as well as the doubtful use of colons instead of semicolons in many places for the sake of fidelity to the original text.







For a good many years past the anatomic study of Shakspere, of which a revival seems now on foot, has been somewhat out of fashion, as compared with its vogue in the palmy days of the New Shakspere Society in England, and the years of the battle between the iconoclasts and the worshippers in Germany. When Mr. Fleay and Mr. Spedding were hard at work on the metrical tests; when Mr. Spedding was subtly undoing the chronological psychology of Dr. Furnivall; when the latter student was on his part undoing in quite another style some of the judgments of Mr. Swinburne; and when Mr. Halliwell Phillipps was with natural wrath calling on Mr. Browning, as President of the Society, to keep Dr. Furnivall in order, we (then) younger onlookers felt that literary history was verily being made. Our sensations, it seemed, might be as those of our elders had been over Mr... Continue reading book >>

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