9780140443868

Letters on England

by ; ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780140443868

  • ISBN10:

    014044386X

  • Edition: Reprint
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 1980-07-31
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics

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Summary

Also known as the Lettres anglaises ou philosophiques, Voltaire's response to his exile in England offered the French public of 1734 a panoramic view of British culture. Perceiving them as a veiled attack against the ancien regime, however, the French government ordered the letters burned and Voltaire persecuted.

Author Biography

François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father—who wished him to study law—led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille.

By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)—an attack on French Church and State—forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as “Zadig” (1747) and “Candide” (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, “Belle et Bonne,” and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778—the foremost French author of his day.

Table of Contents

INTRODUCTION 7(16)
Letter 1 On the Quakers
23(4)
Letter 2 On the Quakers
27(2)
Letter 3 On the Quakers
29(3)
Letter 4 On the Quakers
32(5)
Letter 5 On the Anglican Religion
37(3)
Letter 6 On the Presbyterians
40(2)
Letter 7 On the Socinians, Arians or Anti-Trinitarians
42(2)
Letter 8 On Parliament
44(3)
Letter 9 On the Government
47(4)
Letter 10 On Commerce
51(2)
Letter 11 On Inoculation with Smallpox
53(4)
Letter 12 On Chancellor Bacon
57(5)
Letter 13 On Mr Locke
62(6)
Letter 14 On Descartes and Newton
68(5)
Letter 15 On the System of Gravitation
73(9)
Letter 16 On the Optics of Newton
82(4)
Letter 17 On Infinity and Chronology
86(6)
Letter 18 On Tragedy
92(5)
Letter 19 On Comedy
97(4)
Letter 20 On Noble Lords who cultivate literature
101(2)
Letter 21 On the Earl of Rochester and Mr Waller
103(4)
Letter 22 On Mr Pope and some other famous poets
107(4)
Letter 23 On the Consideration due to Men of Letters
111(4)
Letter 24 On Academies
115(5)
Letter 25 On the Pensees of Pascal
120(27)
NOTES 147(7)
APPENDIX 154

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