Say What? Montaigne on Accuracy

Michel de Montaigne and the frontispiece to an early 1900’s publication of Florio’s translation of his ‘Essayes’. Below is a later one by Donald Frame

‘This man I had [stay at my house] was a simple, crude fellow–a character fit to bear true witness: for clever people observe more things and more curiously, but they interpret them; and to lend weight and conviction to their interpretation, they cannot help altering history a little. They never show you things as they are, but bend and disguise them according to the way they have seen them; and to give credence to their judgment and attract you to it, they are prone to add something to their matter, to stretch it out and amplify it. We need a man either very honest, or so simple that he has not the stuff to build up false inventions and give them plausibility; and wedded to no theory.’

– From Michel de Montaigne’s Essays: ‘Of Cannibals’

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