How to Live: A Life of Montaigne in One Question and Twenty Attempts at an Answer
Michel de Montaigne is a discursive writer who struggles to follow the thread of an argument, so it's appropriate to find a biography that's similar: and I mean this as a compliment. Bakewell takes an impossible task -- distilling Montaigne's life and thought and relationships -- and presents them as a collection of partial answers to his core question of "how one should live". Along the way she manages to draw out many of the seductive points in Montaigne's style without getting too lost in the flurry of contradictions that he presents.
I don't actually think this book is quite as successful as her work on existentialism, At the existentialist cafe, but it's still an excellent biography that makes we want to re-visit the Essays.
4/5. Finished 29 June 2017.
(Originally published on Goodreads.)