Grimm and the “Correspondance littéraire” 1759

Discovery of a Manuscript by Montaigne

Source: Correspondance littéraire, philosphique et critique, edited by Maurice Tourneux Vol. 9.Paris, Garnier Frères, 1879;
Translated: for by Mitchell Abidor;
CopyLeft: Creative Commons (Attribute & ShareAlike) 2011.

May 1772

At the beginning of the year a canon from Gascony wrote to M. d'Alembert that he had discovered in a chateau that had once belonged to Michel de Montaigne , author of the famous “Essays,” a hitherto unknown manuscript by the famous author containing his voyage in Germany and Italy. This news caused hardly a stir because no one believed in this discovery. The marquise de Ségur assures us that during her stay at the chateau, which belongs to her family, she carried out a thorough search that proved fruitless. Nevertheless, the canon arrived in Paris with the manuscript, and it can no longer be doubted that the voyage is truly by Michel de Montaigne. He dictated it every evening to one of his domestics, who speaks of him in the third person: “Monsieur de Montaigne.” In all likelihood he lost this secretary along the route, for the second half is written in his own hand and he speaks of himself in the first person. Whatever the merits of this journal, it is an extremely interesting present. It is going to be published and it is said there is nothing so daring in it that we have to fear cuts or chicanery on the part of the censor.