cannibalistic reading

I probably have "les yeux plus grands que le ventre" but I want to cannibalize everyone's ideas and ask what a self-referential or self-consuming preoccupation ("Je suis moymesmes la matiere de mon livre") and the proto-phenemonological "embodied cognition" Michaela and Cici brought up have to do with Montaigne's writing and also reading practices, with the way he assimilates and (re)produces texts and experience. Is his obsessive digestion and citation/glossing of ancient and contemporary sources cannibalistic, and if it is, is that a problem? How are the theophagy of the Catholic Eucharist and the bibliophagy of pagan texts similar, and how are they different? How are both of these practices similar to and different from the normal eating of food? How is Montaigne offering (or not) his text to us for our consumption, compared to the way Rabelais does?

Montaigne presents the account of cannibals as through the (transparent) lens of an "homme simple," and he communicates with the visiting natives through an (obfuscating) intepreter. Is Montaigne presenting his own writing as a straightforward reading of his "sources," or as an interpretation or "gloss," the very thing he would find tiresome coming from someone else? (He seems to have rather limited cannibalistic tastes: he seems to say, as Greg points out, that he wants to assimilate his own and intellectual ancestors' textual flesh, but complains how others' interpretions "alterer" "les choses pures.") Does writing, or citation, or translation, necessarily involve the corruption of original sources, or can it add value? (To keep with cooking metaphors, Derrida describes translation as "relever": to simultaneously negate and elevate the original, in a Hegelian sense, but also to "season" food, adding extra flavor to make the original ingredient more itself.) How seriously are we to take Montaigne's claim (couched in references to Plato and Aristotle, testaments to his highly refined classical education) that the Brazilians really live better, in unadulterated nature, than the postlapsarian Europeans? Is there even really, in Montaigne's account, any such thing as unadulterated (even unseasoned) nature, or has it all already been somehow manipulated (even just by observing it, or by writing about it)?

(I'll be doing my close reading on the passage in "Des Cannibales" describing the Brazilians' living conditions and diet, 255-57 in the Flammarion edition, so come with an appetite for pickled coriander.)