The Byron Journal

Byron and Montaigne

The Byron Journal (2009), 37, (1), 33–41.

Abstract

This article represents a search for affinities explaining Byron's comparison of Don Juan with Montaigne's Essays. Both proclaim a scepticism expressed by Montaigne as 'Que sçais-je?'. Both finally reject the use of violence to establish one's own opinions, yet Byron's joining in the Greek War for Independence shows no lack of integrity. He approves of war to relieve oppression and both Byron and Montaigne present themselves as changeable and full of contradictions. Montaigne's essays dealing with the philosophy and practice of war were useful reading for a tyro commander with a conscience to take to war. The thinker in the Palazzo Mocenigo and the thinker in the round tower at Montaigne were on much the same path.

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Author details

Fleming, Anne