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The Unrepentant RenaissanceFrom Petrarch to Shakespeare to Milton$
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Richard Strier

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780226777511

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2013

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226777535.001.0001

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Self-Revelation and Self-Satisfaction in Montaigne and Descartes

Self-Revelation and Self-Satisfaction in Montaigne and Descartes

(p.207) Chapter 5 Self-Revelation and Self-Satisfaction in Montaigne and Descartes
The Unrepentant Renaissance

Richard Strier

University of Chicago Press

In this chapter, the minds of Montaigne and Descartes are studied with the goal of exploring what rationales developed in each one to have them defend self-revelation and self-satisfaction. Both these thinkers had vexed relations to the self-denial that their religious tradition demanded, and their works reflected those emotions. This is what marks them as unrepentant. In this chapter, the author attempts to draw an autobiography from the works of both Montaigne and Descartes. Petrarch, for instance, gave insights on his life through his sonnets. The same can be said for William Shakespeare and his own sonnets. In Montaigne’s book, for instance, he states directly that his goal is entirely “private” and intended for the benefit of those of close relation to him—to help them keep their memories of him as complete and alive as they otherwise would have been. This, in a sense, is how we glean self-revelation and self-satisfaction in Montaigne’s work.

Keywords:   self-revelation, self-satisfaction, self-denial, Montaigne, Descartes, unrepentant

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