Reference and Structure in "Of Cannibals"

Marlene Sloger, English 171, Sages and Satirists, Brown University, 2002

In "Of Cannibals," Michel de Montaigne advises against cultural value judgments, albeit while choosing an interesting topic in cannibalism. Perhaps more interesting that the content, which seems fairly straightforward, is how he chooses to structure his essay. For example, his essay begins with a story of King Pyrrhus's journey into Italy, and is followed two paragraphs later with a story of Plato (which itself is followed up with a quote from Virgil). How do these historical, literary, and philosophical references function in this essay? Why does Montaigne include them so frequently? In a larger sense, how do they fit into his overall structure of this essay?

Victorian Web Overview Victorian courses Michel de Montaigne

Last modified 6 February 2002