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PREFACE

ix

uscript was read by her, and the rendering of many passages is due to mutual discussion. While it is in no sense such a translation as she herself would have made had conditions permitted, whatever merit it may possess is due chiefly to her advice. Moreover, the value of her learned and suggestive introductions to the several Essays can hardly be exaggerated.


II


The first edition of the Essays was published in 1580 and included only the first two books. The second, in 1582, contained some few slight, though not unimportant, additions; the third edition (1587) was practically a reprint of the second. The third book first appeared in 1588, in an edition called on the title-page the fifth, although no fourth has ever been discovered. In addition to the third book, this edition contained very considerable and important additions to, and changes in, the first two. This was the last edition published in Montaigne’s lifetime. He died in 1592.

In 1595 appeared the first posthumous edition, which contained additions even more numerous and significant, to the third book as well as to the others. This edition was the one used by both Florio and Cotton as the basis of their translations, and it has been reprinted, in French, innumerable times. The question of the authorship of, or responsibility for, the changes embodied therein aroused no special interest until the discovery, late in the eighteenth century, in a convent near Bordeaux, of a copy of the edition of 1588, which Montaigne had evidently used in preparing for a new edition. The title-page has been changed by substituting “sixth edition” for ‘‘fifth edition,” and adding the motto, “Vires atque eundo”; on the back of the title-page is a list of directions to the printer, and on every page of the volume are interlineations and marginal additions, erasures, substitutions, and re-writings, which, in many cases,