One summer with Montaigne by Antoine Compagnon, the famous literary theorist and professor at the College de France and Columbia University, a is a work made from the series of shows on the radio France Inter. The book became a best-seller very quickly and still enjoys wide readership, especially because of author's masterful and analytical approach to the ideas of the great thinker and writer Michel de Montaigne.

Michel de Montaigne undoubtedly forms a part of Western canon; His book The Essays (first edition in 1580) is one of the foundations of modernity. Although constantly read and partially translated, recent translation of collected works by Vojmir Vinja brought Montaigne's work closer to our culture. In forty chapters of the book Compagnon calls us in a kind of summer relaxation, sipping our drinks, to get closer to Montaigne and together with him to think about the large and small concepts such as commitment, honesty, friendship, second and different, war and peace, books and libraries, bets, doctors, good faith, fragrances, torture, learned ignorance... Each of these topics are actually one chapter. Montaigne teaches us how it is necessary to set aside some time for those things that make life what it really is.

After his scientific work on the author of Essays, Compagnon decided to follow Montaigne who said that there is no order in his readings, and it is precisely the absence of method what introduced a certain freshness to the reading of Montaigne. Selected fragments, sometimes not much longer than a sentence, seemingly randomly selected, form a new, fresh reading of Montaigne, the cultural and historical depth of his work, through what is called the method of explaining the text, that has a huge tradition in the French school system. The author shows both the historical actuality and the actuality of the founder of essayistic genre and writer of famous essays. Compagnon strives, and succeeds, in reaching the simplicity of thought and text style of the great classics, and that's what makes this book not only attractive but also illuminative reading material.

  • ISBN: 978-953-7177-80-5
  • Dimensions: 110x170 mm
  • Number of pages: 184
  • Cover: paperback
  • Year of the edition: 2014
  • Original title: Un été avec Montaigne
  • Original language: French
  • Translation: Rade Kalanj

Compagnon masterfully reconciles improvidence of the narrator and the popularizer with the demands of the scientist. One summer with Montaigne can be read in various ways: as a scientific discussion and a fun reeding for the educated, as an introduction to Montaigne and a scientific analysis of the Essays, as a methodological ideal of the explanation of what is called a required reading in schools and, simply, a required reading. This explanation of the Essays surpasses its own modesty.
prof. Nenad Ivić, Ph. D.

As an excellent scientific and popular work, it is not primarily intended for a narrow circle of elite academic intellectual connoisseurs, but rather for a wide group of young high school and college students, as an irresistible introduction to the rich legacy of a great classic.
prof. Dragutin Lalović, Ph. D.