His foolish project of describing himself  

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Le sot projet qu'il a de se peindre! is a statement by Blaise Pascal on Michel de Montaigne's Essais, published in Pensées VI, 33.

English translations:

  • The idiotic project he's undertaken to describe himself!
  • His foolish project of self-portraiture.
  • His foolish project of describing himself


"Pascal, with a singular lack of humour, blames in Montaigne le sot projet qu'il a de se peindre. The project was not so foolish as Pascal thinks, especially since Montaigne, having given us a glimpse of the outward man, displays with equal honesty and understanding his rare and gifted temperament. He was, above all, of an excellent modesty. ' No one thinks less ' of himself,' said he in perfect sincerity, ' no one thinks ' less of me than I do myself; and so he ranked himself with the common sort, boasting only that, though he was guilty of the basest defects, he neither disavowed nor excused them. Even his plainness of speech, for which others applaud him, seemed in his eyes deplorable ; but it was Nature that chose it, not he himself; and in this, as in all things, he bowed humbly to her dictate." --Literary Portraits, Charles Whibley

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