Readers of this column will be aware that, from the start, its patron saint has been Michel de Montaigne, whose great essays began with commentaries on quotations that he had grown fond of.
And that is pretty much what I have been doing here. The reason I haven’t written much lately, though, is that I think I have discovered why Montaigne didn’t continue his essays as he began them. It isn’t so much that, sooner or later, you run out of quotations — you can always find one if you look hard enough — but rather that having to look for one is different from riffing on one that you’ve been thinking about for years. [Read more →]