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Publication details for Professor Richard ScholarScholar, Richard (2016). Montaigne et la “vanité” des utopies. Revue de synthèse 137(3-4): 321-343.
- Publication type: Journal Article
- ISSN/ISBN: 1955-2343, 0035-1776
- DOI: 10.1007/s11873-016-0305-7
- Further publication details on publisher web site
Author(s) from Durham
This article examines Montaigne’s contribution to the sixteenth-century European debate about the utopia as a form of political thinking concerned with the creation of a better society. It argues that Montaigne participates in that debate, as he does in others, by retreating to the margins. It explores the form this retreat takes in book III of the Essais. The suggestion is that, by retreating to the margins of political debate, the author creates a textual space open to a virtual community of friends, among them the author and the reader, who have in common a mode of free and frank discussion as a truth-seeking and quarrelsome “exercise of minds”. Montaigne is thus able to conduct an unresolved quarrel with others, and with himself, as he weighs in the balance the value – and vanity – of utopias.