Scot wrote about Montaigne this week, and I heartily agree with his appreciation of the inventor of the essay. I first read Montaigne as a freshman in college, and have been a fan ever since. “Of Friendship” is my favorite essay by Montaigne, in which he contrasts same-gender friendship with the father-son relationship, the brother-brother relationship, and the fires of romantic love. In contrast to the lattermost, he writes,
Whereas in friendship, ’tis a general and universal fire, but temperate and equal, a constant established heat, all gentle and smooth, without poignancy or roughness…
Friendship, on the contrary, is enjoyed proportionably as it is desired; and only grows up, is nourished and improved by enjoyment, as being of itself spiritual, and the soul growing still more refined by practice.
Montaigne would have been a great blogger — in fact, I’d argue that he was the proto-blogger, and his invention of the personal essay has evolved into what I and tens of thousands of others do every day on blogs.
If you never have, I encourage you to get your Montaigne on!