"Even on the most exalted throne in the world we are only sitting on our own bottom." —Michel de MontaigneSynopsis Born into a French family of minor nobility on February 28, 1533, Michel de Montaigne held a seat in the Bordeaux parliament. Montaigne retired from public life and began to write a series of philosophical and personal essays in 1571. This writing was the first of its kind, making Montaigne responsible for the establishment of the essay as a literary genre. He died in France on September 13, 1592.