The Proto-Blogger

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!

About Tony Jones
  • Travis Mamone

    I haven’t heard about Montaigne until a few months ago when I went to a writing workshop on narrative essays. After experimenting with different genres on my blog (i.e. trying too hard to write like Andrew Sullivan or Scot McKnight–both of whom I love, of course), I finally realized that narrative essays is my speciality.

  • Carter McNeese

    I have thought for years that Bloggers, at their best, were the 21st century pamphleteers. They are able to write, publish, and distribute texts quickly enough that they are social timely and contextual.