Essays was first published in 1580. In it Montaigne essentially invented the literary form of the essay, a short subjective treatment of a given topic. Montaigne's stated goal in his book is to describe man, and especially himself, with utter frankness. The modernity of thought in Montaigne's essays, coupled with their sustained popularity, made them arguably the most prominent work in French philosophy until the Enlightenment. Their influence over French education and culture is still strong.