Guillaume Budé and the Uses of Greek
French Literary Culture Before Guillaume Budé
Prominent French intellectuals younger than Guillaume Budé (1467–1540) often refer to the earlier period as a quagmire of scholastic logic-chopping. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) refers to Plutarch at least 500 times in his Essays. He writes that he did not know Greek but that he had come to know Plutarch through Jacques Amyot’s translations. He awards Amyot the palm for, above all, choosing a Greek author of such utility to France, adding: ‘Nous autres ignorans estions perdus, si ce livre ne nous eust relevez du bourbier’ (‘We other ignorant people would have been lost if that book had not lifted us from the quagmire’, Essais II.4).