One of the big problems in Montaigne studies is that the essayist slips away the minute he is pressed too closely. Careful collation of passages, meticulously chosen with a specific end in mind, can ‘prove’ a given thesis: Montaigne the Stoic, Montaigne the Skeptic, or Montaigne the Epicurean. It can be shown—and has been—that these three aspects were all true, simply superseding each other as Montaigne grew older. It has also been shown, however, that Montaigne the Stoic and Montaigne the Epicurean coexisted; and other combinations likewise. So pressing Montaigne too closely is likely to yield a series of pictures which, viewed individually, are true, but taken as a whole appear contradictory.