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An Early SelfJewish Belonging in Romance Literature, 1499-1627$
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Susanne Zepp

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780804787451

Published to Stanford Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.11126/stanford/9780804787451.001.0001

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Marranism and Modernity

Marranism and Modernity

The Meaning of Form in Michel de Montaigne’s Essais (1580–1588)

(p.93) Four Marranism and Modernity
An Early Self

Susanne Zepp

, Insa Kummer
Stanford University Press

The fourth chapter takes previous attempts to explain Montaigne’s project of self-realization as a possible engagement with his Jewish or Marrano belonging as its point of departure, but then strives to understand Montaigne’s text via his specific écriture rather than a deliberation on the author’s belonging. What lends unity to the purposely and sometimes provocatively hybrid material which this text unfolds cannot be put in conceptual terms at all, it is a – fictitious – referential cipher: The “I” of the writer is the vanishing point of the heterogeneous. The authority attributing meaning in the text, which is marked as contingent, attempts to attribute meaning to the heterogeneous. To stage “meaning” as a non-objective category, as a purely attributed category, and thus as a constantly newly available category is what gives Montaigne’s Essais a dimension reaching far into the Modern and even the Postmodern Age.

Keywords:   Sources of the Self, écriture, Identity

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