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Eric LeMay, The Montaigne Machine


Eric LeMay has taught writing at Harvard, Columbia, and the University of Chicago. He is currently on the faculty of the writing program at Ohio University, his alma mater. He serves as an associate editor for the New Ohio Review and the web editor for Alimentum: The Literature of Food. He is also a host on the New Books Network. He is the author of The One in the Many, Immortal Milk, and In Praise of Nothing. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, Gastronomica, Poetry Daily, theBest Food Writing series, and other venues. He lives in Athens, Ohio, with his wife and fellow writer, Kristin LeMay. Email him at:  Tweet him at: @eclemay. 


The Montaigne Machine is a work of electronic literature that invites users to participate in the creation of multimedia personal essays.  The essays generated by The Montaigne Machine each center on a specific topic taken up by the inventor of the genre, Michel de Montaigne. The essays combine text from Montaigne’s famous Essais, first published in 1580 and here translated into English, with original text from each visitor who uses the machine. These texts are placed within an image that has been uploaded by a photographer on Flickr, designated as available for remixing, and most recently tagged with a term appropriate to the essay’s topic. The resulting essay is a collaboration, perhaps even a conversation, across time and media by three artists.

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