Michel de Montaigne: “Literally” an Ancestor?

Micheol de Montaigne, Saint- Germain-de-Prés, Paris (Photo credit: C. Bertelsen)

Great article by Sarah Bakewell, on Paris Review site from November 2010:

What Bloggers Owe [Michel de] Montaigne

Don’t forget that Michel wrote about cannibalism, relating it to ethical issues. Read his essays in translation HERE.

A taste, if I may be so bold:

 I am not sorry that we notice the barbarous horror of such acts, but I am heartily sorry that, judging their faults rightly, we should be so blind to our own. I think there is more barbarity in eating a man alive than in eating him dead; and in tearing by tortures and the rack a body still full of feeling, in roasting a man bit by bit, in having him bitten and mangled by dogs and swine (as we have not only read but seen within fresh memory, not among ancient enemies, but among neighbors and fellow citizens, and what is worse, on the pretext of piety and religion), than in roasting and eating him after he is dead.

Lots of ink spilled on the subject of cannibalism, but Montaigne surfaces continuously in discussions of this most ancient subject …

For more, see the bibliography HERE at Food  and Culture, updated in 2009. This somewhat limited bibliography leaves out a lot of material, including Human Cuisine, edited by Ken Albala and Gary Allen (2008) and An Intellectual History of Cannibalism by Catalin Avramescu and Alistair Ian Blyth (2011), among many others.

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