The Persian Letters

The Persian Letters

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by Montesquieu
     
 

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Based on the 1761 edition, this translation strives for fidelity and retains Montesquieu's paragraphing. George R. Healy's Introduction discusses The Persian Letters as a kind of overture to the Enlightenment, a work of remarkable diversity designed more to explore a problem of great urgency for eighteenth century thought than to resolve it: that of discovering…  See more details below

Overview

Based on the 1761 edition, this translation strives for fidelity and retains Montesquieu's paragraphing. George R. Healy's Introduction discusses The Persian Letters as a kind of overture to the Enlightenment, a work of remarkable diversity designed more to explore a problem of great urgency for eighteenth century thought than to resolve it: that of discovering universals, or at least the pragmatic constants, amid the diversity of human culture and society, and of confronting the proposition that there are no values in human relationships except those imposed by force or agreed upon in self-interested conventions.

Editorial Reviews

Booknews
<:st>A translation of the 1758 edition of the French writer's witty, naughty, and negative critique of his society. In addition to one character's irreverent observations on popes and kings, and the expressions of frustration another's wives and eunuchs, however, are essays and allegories exploring the 18th-century urgency to discover universals, or at least pragmatic constants amid the diversity of human cultural and society, and to confront the proposition that all human relationships are based on self-interest. Healy provides a 19- page introduction and footnotes explaining allusions. Paper edition (unseen), $9.95. Cited in . Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780140442816
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/28/1973
Series:
Penguin Classics Series
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
352
Sales rank:
1,123,465
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.80(h) x 0.83(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

Charles-Louis de Secondat was born in 1689 at La Brède, near Bordeaux, into an eminent family of parlementaires. His mother died when he was ten and Charles-Louis was sent to Paris to be educated and completed a law degree in Bordeaux in 1708. He returned to Paris in order to finish his education, staying until his father died in 1713. In 1714 he became a councilor at the Bordeaux Parlement and a year later married a Huguenot lady, Jeanne de Lartigue, probably for her money. They had three children. A year after their marriage Charles-Louis inherited the barony of Montesquieu and the post of président à mortier at the Bordeaux Parlement and five years later, in 1721, he published anonymously in Holland the Persian Letters, which ran into ten editions in one year. From 1721 to 1725 he lived in Paris frequenting fashionable society and conducting several love-affairs. He sold his post of président in 1726 because of financial difficulties, was elected to the French academy in 1727 and spent the next three years traveling in Europe (he stayed about eighteen months in England and became a freemason). He returned to France working mainly in Paris but occasionally traveling to the southwest to look after his estates and wine business. During this period his persistent eye troubles got worse and he gave up freemasonry because of the Church’s disapproval. In 1748 he published his most important work, The Spirit of Laws, which made an immediate impression and caused a lot of controversy. Montesquieu died in Paris of a fever in 1755. In 1751 The Spirit of Laws was placed on the Vatican Index and likewise the Persian Letters in 1761.
Christopher Betts was born in 1936 and is at present a lecturer in the School of French Studies at the University of Warwick.
Christopher Betts was born in 1936 and is at present a lecturer in the School of French Studies at the University of Warwick.

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The Persian Letters 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
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