Monthly Archives: February 2012

More substantial notes will come soon.
For now, let’s appreciate the first:

I desire therein to be viewed as I appear in mine own genuine, simple, and ordinary manner, without study and artifice: for it is myself I paint. My defects are therein to be read to the life, and any imperfections are my natural form, so far as public reverence hath permitted me. If I had lived among those nations, which (they say) yet dwell under the sweet liberty of nature’s primitive laws, I assure thee I would most willingly have painted myself quite fully and quite naked. Thus, reader, myself am the matter of my book: there’s no reason thou shouldst employ thy leisure about so frivolous and vain a subject.

Je veus qu’on m’y voie en ma façon simple, naturelle et ordinaire, sans contention et artifice: car c’est moy que je peins. Mes defauts s’y liront au vif, et ma forme naïfve, autant que la reverence publique me l’a permis. Que si j’eusse esté entre ces nations qu’on dict vivre encore sous la douce liberté des premieres loix de nature, je t’asseure que je m’y fusse tres-volontiers peint tout entier, et tout nud. Ainsi, lecteur, je suis moy-mesmes la matiere de mon livre: ce n’est pas raison que tu employes ton loisir en un subject si frivole et si vain.

Montaigne (English trans. Charles Cotton, 1580, because it won’t violate copyright)

So with that humility in mind, and with no claim to greatness or intelligence, I think I’ll begin.

This won’t be a blog so much as a place to keep my thoughts, to try out ideas, and to pretend to write for an audience.