Thursday, April 1, 2010
The world's first blogger
Montaigne is a name which evokes France in the troubled 16th Century; a lone writer in a castle tower putting his thoughts about everyday life on paper , a count who had taken early retiral from life in public service. I had bought an Everyman’s edition of The Complete Works a year or so ago but only dipped into its 1,340 pages. I am now more encouraged since starting to read Sarah Bakewell’s How to Live – a life of Montaigne in one question and 20 attempts at an answer. It’s a superb edition by Chatto and Windus – with superb black and white engravings, paper, layout and typeface (sadly it doesn’t say which). It’s a long time since I’ve seen such a beautifully produced book. It’s also beautifully written – and all for 10 euros from Amazon.
I knew that he had retired young from a political life in Bordeaux in troubled times in France to look after his estate and muse about life in what became an exemplar for the memoir – and that he was inventing the template which people like Proust (and Pamuk in modern times) have made their own. But I hadn’t realised that he retired at age 37! So I feel better at this first attempt at musing in retirement at 67!
Now The Guardian has its obvious April Fool story – although the picture and first para did fool me! You must have a look at it!
This spell in the mountains helped me rediscover my energy so quickly that I had an interesting marketing idea – a retreat for shell-shocked mercenaries of technical assistance – not so much to help send them back into battle as to help redefine the enemy and nature of battle needed!
The experience has helped me reconnect with the critique I wrote 3-4 years ago – which was a mite too ambitious. It’s the paper on my website’s “key papers” – entitled critique of development assistance.
And let me direct you to another excellent piece in Scottish Review – one on how those who blow whistles are treated