My son Jacob is writing an essay on Montaigne’s “Of Experience” and so I was skimming that and then skimming some secondary sources–all the reading I could manage today. In graduate school I wrote an essay on “On Cannibals” and that had an echo later on in my interest in natives that came out in The Life and Times of Captain N and Elle. Montaigne is such a character in his essays, weaving the abstract and the personal, and by “personal” I mean really personal. In “Of Experience” he goes on about his bowel habits. And he says, in my translation, “Kings and philosophers go to stool, and ladies too” which in Jacob’s translation comes out as “and women shit.”
I probably would have gotten more dates in high school (or at least asked for them) if I’d translated that line from Montaigne.