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Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de Montaigne, was born in 1553. He retired in 1571 to his lands at Montaigne, devoting himself to reading and reflection and composing his Essays (first version, 1580). He died at Montaigne in 1592 while preparing the final, and richest, edition of his Essays. M.A. Screech is an Extraordinary Fellow of Wolfson College and an Emeritus Fellow of All Souls College, Oxford. He has edited and translated both the complete edition and a selection of the Essays for Penguin Classics and, in a separate volume, Montaigne's sceptical Apology for Raymond Sebond. His other books include Erasmus: Ecstasy and the Praise of Folly, Rabelais, Montaigne and Melancholy, and, most recently, Laughter at the Foot of the Cross.