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Montaigne is generally portrayed either as a principal proponent of the mix of scepticism, neo-Stoicism and Tacitism that feeds the early-modern reason-of-state literature or as a thoroughgoing political moralist who rejects this literature's politics of necessity and princely deception in favour of a politics of classical or Christian virtue. I argue that Montaigne inhabits neither of these positions exclusively. Instead, he argues in utramque partem, both for and against reason of state, in order to educate > his readers about the perils of following elites who would use either political necessity or religious moralism as pretexts for violence in pursuit of political gain.

Keywords: Essais; French Wars of Religion; Montaigne; dissimulation; political education; political moralism; political realism; raison d'etat

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2013

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