Michel de Montaigne : Du Discours sur la mort de La Boétie aux Essais
Une poétique de l’amitié
Montaigne prefaces the works of Etienne de la Boétie with a letter that Montaigne supposedly wrote shortly after the sudden death of his friend, whose last enigmatic words to Montaigne were: “make a place for me”. A close examination of the intertexts and rhetoric of the letter reveals that it can be read as a failed attempt by Montaigne to respond to his friend’s wish. The letter, indeed, fails to offer a true literary place to his friend who ceased to be a privileged addressee or reader, to become an absent object of discourse mentioned in the third person. Montaigne will try to “make a place” for his dead friend elsewhere, while writing his Essais, by developing a polyphonic mode of writing functioning as a substitute to the lost friendship. It will be argued that in the Essais, friendship, more that a mere content of discourse, becomes a form of expression.
Keywords: Montaigne, Etienne de la Boétie, friendship, Essais, Renaissance, poetics
Published online: 06 January 2012
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