Advertisement

Voltaire: Lettres Philosophiques

  • C. J. Betts
Chapter
Part of the Archives Internationales d’Histoire des Idees / International Archives of the History of Ideas book series (ARCH, volume 104)

Abstract

To judge from the number of apologias published in the period from the Lettres persanes in 1721 to the Lettres philosophiques in 1734, free thought was either on the retreat or only in mild disagreement with orthodoxy. The number rises continuously until 1720, and falls from 1725 until 1745.1 From about 1715, moreover, works in defence of Christianity are of small distinction, except for Houtteville’s in 1722. There is one outstanding figure, or rather reputation: Fénelon had died in 1715, after years of provincial exile at Cambrai, defeated by Bossuet’s intransigence over Quietism, but his writings were extremely influential and did much to create a philosophic, liberal Christianity which is sometimes difficult to distinguish from deism.2 His classicizing, moralizing novel Télémaque, of 1699, was one of the eighteenth century’s favourite books and influenced Montesquieu in his allegory of the Troglodytes;3 it shows the religion of classical antiquity as a vague and idealized worship of ‘les dieux’.4 His Traité de l’existence de Dieu (1715) greatly strengthened the concept of natural religion, which was common ground for deists and Christians.5

Keywords

Critical Edition Christian Religion Natural Religion True Religion Christian Concept 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Elie Carcassonne, Fenelon, l’homme et l’oeuvre (Paris, 1946), p. 115.Google Scholar
  2. Albert Cherel, Fenelon au XVIHe siecle en France (Paris, 1918).Google Scholar
  3. A. Cherel, A.-M. Ramsay, un aventurier religieux au X VIIIe siecle (Paris, 1920; a revised and abridged version of part of his Fenelon au XVIIIe siecle).Google Scholar
  4. G. D. Henderson, Chevalier Ramsay (Edinburgh, 1952).Google Scholar
  5. A. Cherel, De Telemaque a Candide (Paris, 1958 edition), p. 184.Google Scholar
  6. I.O. Wade: ‘The Epitre a Uranie’, PMLA 47 (1932), 1066 – 1112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. O. R. Taylor, in Voltaire, Oeuvres completes, edited by Theodore Besterman (Geneva, 1968), Vol. II (1970).Google Scholar
  8. Besterman, Voltaire (3rd edition, Oxford, 1976) pp. 113–116.Google Scholar
  9. A. M. Rousseau, L’Angleterre et Voltaire, SVEC, 145–147 (1976).Google Scholar
  10. W. Harcourt Brown, ‘The Composition of the Letters concerning the English Nation’, in The Age of the Enlightenment, Studies presented to Theodore Besterman, edited by W. H. Barber and others (Edinburgh and London, 1967 ), pp. 15 – 34.Google Scholar
  11. A. M. Rousseau, ‘Naissance d’un livre et d’un texte: les Letters concerning the English Nation’, SVEC 179 (1979), pp. 25 – 46.Google Scholar
  12. Lanson, Voltaire, p. 52 (Paris, 1960 edition).Google Scholar
  13. E. Philips, ‘Le Quaker vu par Voltaire’, RHLF 39 (1932), 161 - 177.Google Scholar
  14. W. H. Barber, ‘Voltaire and Quakerism: Enlightenment and the Inner Light’, SVEC 24 (1963), 81 – 109.Google Scholar
  15. Pomeau, Religion de Voltaire, pp. 131 – 137.Google Scholar
  16. I. O. Wade, Studies on Voltaire, with some unpublished papers of Mme du Chatelet (Princeton, 1947), pp. 56 – 114.Google Scholar
  17. Erich Auerbach, Mimesis (Princeton, 1953; German original, Berne, 1946 ), Ch. 16, pp. 353 - 356.Google Scholar
  18. Norman L. Torrey, Voltaire and the English Deists (New Haven, 1930; pp. 135-153 on Bolingbroke).Google Scholar
  19. Charles Dedeyan, Voltaire et la pensee anglaise ( Paris, 1956 ), Pt. VI.Google Scholar
  20. John Leland, A View of the Principal Deistical Writers that have appeared in England in the last and present century, 2 vols. (London, 1754-1755).Google Scholar
  21. Francois Mauriac, Voltaire contre Pascal (Paris, 1929).Google Scholar
  22. Jean-Raoul Carre, Reflexions sur Vanti-Pascal de Voltaire (Paris, 1935).Google Scholar
  23. Richard G. Knapp, The Fortunes of Pope’s Essay on Man in 18th Century France, SVEC 82 (1971), pp. 79 – 122.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Martinus Nijhoff Publishers, The Hague 1984

Authors and Affiliations

  • C. J. Betts

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations