When his public engagements leave him some free time, he isolates himself in his library and writes. Gradually appreciating that his way of being could serve as a model, he will give visibility on his psyche and emotions without hiding his flaws.
He does not know if his work can be useful. Indeed no similar introspection existed in literature except perhaps the Confessions of St. Augustine whose goal was very different.
The Essais de Messire Michel Seigneur de Montaigne are published in 1580 in Bordeaux in two books often in a single binding. This edition also includes several sonnets by the late Stoic poet La Boétie, with whom he had the strong empathy that made him want to explain his own feelings. This section will be deleted in the posthumous editions of the Essais.
The best copy of the first edition of the Essais surfaced in an auction by Christie's on June 25, 2009 where it was sold for € 715K including premium. It has retained its original limp vellum binding and is complete including the rare errata leaves.
Now coming from the library of Pierre Bergé, this book is estimated € 400K for sale on December 14 in Paris - Drouot by the auction house Pierre Bergé et Associés in association with Sotheby's, lot 855.
After these first two books, Montaigne explores his ego with an increasing acuteness. It is the subject of the third book published in 1588.
SOLD for € 560K before fees