Michel de Montaigne was born in Chateau de Montaigne, near Bordeaux, France. He received his early education at the College de Guyenne in Bordeaux and studied law at Bordeaux and Toulouse, becoming a counselor of the Court des Aides of Perigueaux, the Bordeaux Parliament and, in 1561, at the court of Charles IX. In 1565, Montaigne married Francoise de la Chassaigne. They raised one daughter, with four other children dying in infancy. He lived the life as a country gentleman and traveled extensively through Switzerland, Germany, and Italy. Montaigne was a moderate Roman Catholic and an advocate of toleration, acting as an intermediary between Henry of Navarre and the court party. As a result, in 1588, he was arrested by members of the Protestant League and thrown into the Bastille for several hours. His work Essais established the essay as a new literary form and influenced both French and English writers; it was quoted by William Shakespeare and imitated by Francis Bacon. Michel de Montaigne died on September 13, 1592 at his chateau in France.
M. A. Screech is an emeritus fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He is recognized as a world authority on the Renaissance and was inducted into the French Legion of Honor for his translation of Montaignes Essays .