Saul Frampton has done a fantastic job in capturing the true spirit of Montaigne in When I Am Playing With My Cat, How Do I Know That She Is Not Playing With Me?, serving as our own personal guide to the most influential Montaigne period—his writing of the Essays!
“Where Frampton excels is in his sharply intelligent and sharply phrased insights . . .” —The Washington Post
According to the Christian Science Monitor, “Although they were first published more than four centuries ago, Montaigne’s essays can seem as topical as the morning newspaper.”
So, was Michel De Montaigne the world’s first blogger? Quite possibly!
Most during his time criticized his philosophical approach to the study of mankind as highly narcissistic and out of touch, but Frampton shows us how Montaigne was really a modern man confined to a 16th century world. He was paving the way, like some of his peers, for the re-examination of the old credo ut intelligam mentality. In doing so, he looked no further than himself, and through his Essays Montaigne not only revealed very personal experiences, thoughts, and opinions (most bordering on the side of TMI!), but as Frampton explains, using as parallel comparisons proxemics and kinesics, he was basically studying “people’s relationship to each other in space . . . and what their movements and gestures reveal.” The body-mind connection!
What he left behind is the most honest historical reflection of the universal, human existentialist and epistemological need—to find meaning, significance, and understanding of our role amongst it all. A ‘need’ that still plagues and influences our everyday lives—case in point, the exorbitant popularity of Facebook, Twitter, etc, not to mention the greatest tool to modern self-expression: the personal essay.