(2) Citations of the authorities from whom Montaigne derived the facts and anecdotes and theories set forth in the text; and of the passages, chiefly from classical authors, which seem to have influenced his ideas and opinions in one way or another. Annotation of the Essays in this sense was first undertaken by Peter Coste, who was responsible for five editions in French in the first half of the eighteenth century. His work was very far from complete and his citations left much to be desired in the way of accuracy, but they have been generally accepted by editors of Cotton’s translation — one must believe, without a serious attempt to verify them. Later French editors have revised and amplified Coste’s work to some extent, but it remained for M. Pierre Villey, in his Notes to the Édition Municipale, to carry the work of annotation to a point that can hardly be surpassed. M. Villey had already published, under the most severe handicap imaginable, — that of total blindness, — two works of vast labor and erudition: Les Sources et l’Évolution des Essais, in two volumes, and Livres de l’Histoire Moderne utilisés par Montaigne. It is in the Notes based upon the second of these works, that he has carried the annotation of the Essays into a new field. The present translator has drawn rather freely upon these references to Montaigne’s modern sources; and in this respect the work differs from all previous editions of the Essays in English.
(3) The original text of obscure or doubtful words or sentences, and of passages with which some liberty has been taken in the way of paraphrase or a free rendering, so that the reader may, if he choose, translate for himself.
(4) Cross-references to other passages in the Essays with which comparison may, for one reason or another, be worth while. The examples given in the notes are merely illustrative; it would have been possible to add largely to their number.
An occasional reference to the variant readings of the Bordeaux copy will give some idea of Montaigne’s method of revision, and of the phases through which his thought