Voltaire; philosophical letters; or, letters regarding the English nation

Voltaire; philosophical letters; or, letters regarding the English nation

Voltaire; philosophical letters; or, letters regarding the English nation.

Voltaire. Ed. by John Leigh. Trans. by Prudence L. Steiner.

Hackett Publishing Co.

2007

158 pages

$32.95

Hardcover

PQ2086

If he knew nothing else, Voltaire knew when it was wise to get out of town. His “letters” on England were published a few years after he vacated that country in favor of France, and for some time after they were published he housed himself on the border of France and a neighboring state, just in case. Even a brief perusal of these letters gives readers the motivation for his skittish behavior: at no time does he avoid making a riposte at Christianity’s expense. The letters, loaded with sarcasm, cover Protestant and dissenting religion, government, commerce, medicine, science, tragedy, comedy, noblemen (such as Rochester) who cultivate literature, commoners (such as Pope) who cultivate literature, the academies and Pascal’s Pensees. Leigh provides valuable notes and Steiner’s translation is both careful and crisp.

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