Taking the critical issue of thematic coherence as his starting point, the author proposes that the spatial organization of Montaigne’s “Of Coaches” (III.6), proceeding in a circular movement from Europe to the East, to the New World, and finally back to Europe, serves as the organizing principle of this famous chapter of the Essays. In his reading, the author relates the much commented passages about the New World to Montaigne’s mostly ignored mentions of the East and suggests that they create a dialectic tension. In the Essays, Orientalist tropes underpin Montaigne’s skepticism and undermine, rather than foster, the construction of a European self. In “Of Coaches,” the dialectics of Orientalism serves Montaigne most of all to reveal the precarity of human knowledge.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Title of host publication||The Dialectics of Orientalism in Early Modern Europe|
|Editors||Marcus Keller, Javier Irigoyen-García|
|Number of pages||16|
|State||Published - Nov 9 2017|