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INSIDE the Bordeaux Copy
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Ordering the Bordeaux Copy
Order the Bordeaux Copy
What is the Bordeaux Copy?
What is today commonly called the Bordeaux Copy is a printed copy of the last edition published during the lifetime of Montaigne by Abel L'Angelier in 1588. This copy is copiously annotated in Montaigne's hand. These numerous additions, suppressions and corrections, visible in the margins as well as in the body of the text, represent typographical variants, word substitutions, punctuation alterations, and even stylistic changes. But it is especially the textual developments (which Montaigne called "allongeails")-written between the Summer of 1588 and September 13 1592 (date of his death) which literally invade the blank space of the margins. These additions show us how Montaigne worked on his Essais. It is for this reason that the Bordeaux Copy represents a unique and rare document. Indeed, according to Montaigne, the Essais represent a "bundle of so many disparate pieces", a book which has built itself up with diverse interruptions and intervals". The Bordeaux Copy possess about one third of manuscript additions when compared to the printed text of 1588. This document is precious for its peculiar status: part manuscript and part printed book. It enables us to better understand what Montaigne meant when he confessed wanting to "try himself" and write "as long as there is ink and paper in the world".. The Bordeaux Copy can be seen as a palimpsest of memory and judgment.

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