Wednesday, February 11, 2015

MARIE DE GOURNAY (1565-1645)

“Don’t strive for a great reputation,
Don’t aim for a much grander station.
Make your duty your aim,
Not a wish for world fame,
Pick virtue without hesitation."

Note: Michel de Montaigne’s “adopted daughter”, Marie le Jars de Gournay was an aristocrat who chose to live a single life and devote herself to intellectual pursuits, including translations but also numerous philosophical works, in some of which she defended the natural equality of men and women (using arguments similar to the ones used by Christine de Pisan – see above) and criticized men for their unjustified misogyny.  She also wrote a treatise, Of the Vicious Virtues, in which she explained the difference between vicious motives (such as self-interest, the desire for glory, the desire for a good reputation) and virtuous motives (the motive of duty) for actions that are in accordance with virtue.    

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