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[Comment] The Wakley Prize, 2015: what do you know?

What do I know? That question was the impulse behind Michel de Montaigne’s essays. Whether he was writing about illness, vanity, drunkenness, or sleep, Montaigne wrote with informality, intimacy, and incisive knowledge. As another great essayist William Hazlitt said of Montaigne, “he did not set up for a philosopher, wit, or orator or moralist but he became all these by merely daring to tell us whatever passed through his mind”. In the centuries since Montaigne mastered this form, the essay, a discursive and intimate form of personal reflection, has remained a powerful way to inform, engage, and entertain readers.