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Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently$
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Steven Rendall

Print publication date: 1992

Print ISBN-13: 9780198151807

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151807.001.0001

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Appropriation

Appropriation

Chapter:
(p.53) 4 Appropriation
Source:
Distinguo: Reading Montaigne Differently
Author(s):

Steven Rendall

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198151807.003.0004

This chapter accounts for Montaigne's repeated claim that he has made everything in the Essais his own. The category of appropriation is central to sixteenth-century reflection on writing; it can be seen as the underlying theme linking topics such as imitation, translation, and interpretation. ‘De l'institution des enfans’ makes explicit the metaphorical ratio: the father is to the son as the author is to the text. Montaigne declares that he sees as well as anyone that his text-child is far from perfect, and that its imperfection accurately reflects his own. Montaigne extends the parallel between writing and education in a somewhat different direction by suggesting that the writer plays both the role of student with respect to antecedent master-texts and that of teacher with respect to readers, just as the paternal metaphor that commands his chapter.

Keywords:   text-child, appropriation, De l'institution des enfans, paternal model, imitation

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