Although Bloom's entire dialogue with his cat probably reflects its influence, two sentences in particular allude to a section of Michel de Montaigne's Apology for Raymond Sebond (1568). Bloom thinks, "They call them stupid. They understand what we say better than we understand them." These sentences acknowledge Montaigne's conviction that human intelligence and language are not so extraordinary as human beings commonly suppose: their origins lie in animal powers, and many analogues to their operations can be found in other creatures.

John Hunt & Sean Collins 2017

Oil portrait of Michel de Montaigne, artist and date unknown. Source:

Detail of oil portrait of an older Montaigne, artist and date unknown. Source: