Read Lettres philosophiques by Voltaire Online


Voltaire was a colorful figure in Paris in the time just before both France and America began turbulent revolutions for their freedom. Voltaire was a 17th century writer philosopher and supporter of social reform. He spoke openly in defense of civil liberties and freedom of religion. His satires often poked fun at the Catholic Church and other French institutions. VoltaireVoltaire was a colorful figure in Paris in the time just before both France and America began turbulent revolutions for their freedom. Voltaire was a 17th century writer philosopher and supporter of social reform. He spoke openly in defense of civil liberties and freedom of religion. His satires often poked fun at the Catholic Church and other French institutions. Voltaire along with other authors of the Enlightenment period was influencal in the American and French Revolutions. Voltaire was a prolific letter writer having written over 21,000 letters. As a young outspoken poet in Paris, Voltaire was often in trouble with the crown. In 1717 his satirical writing got him locked up in the Bastille for a year. In 1731 he published Lettres sur les Anglais. These letters appeared in England two years later. The collection of his letters is an excellent resource for historians of the period....

Title : Lettres philosophiques
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9782080700155
Format Type : Poche
Number of Pages : 185 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Lettres philosophiques Reviews

  • Owlseyes
    2019-05-07 18:43

    The letters had as French title: Lettres Philosophiques (“Philosophical letters” ). These are a collection of letters regarding England in its many facets (religious, political, scientific and cultural); a 18th century Britain, Voltaire had been in for some time (1726-1729). At least seven of the letters are dedicated to the religious issues; they touch on the diversity witnessed by the French philosopher; he would call it “a nation of sectarists”.The very first letters are a sort of analysis of the (and meeting with) proponents of a, then, powerful movement/sect called the Quakers. They were persecuted under Charles II and they managed to convert some of the soldiers of Cromwell, who quit service and refused to take oaths.Their belief was as radical and basic as this: it had been 1600 years of corruption, of the true teachings of Christ; one who never baptized, but was baptized by John. Quakers followed Christ, not John. Voltaire met with one young Quaker man called George Fox: he would never “swear”.And yet, Voltaire highlighted their overseas impact. I am referring William Penn (most "hated by the protestants") , who inherited “very large possessions (south of Maryland)” and established Quakers power in America; in Pennsylvania, namely . Voltaire says at that time “Philadelphia city was flourishing”. Some other letters are an approach to other sects (the Unitarians, the Socinians, the Arians, the Antitrinitarians…), yet, outstanding: The Church of England, whose “true religion is the sect of Episcopalians”.Differing from France’s “training”, all the clergy is educated (with “few exceptions”) in Oxford and Cambridge. Voltaire still mentions the Presbyterians, somehow similar to Calvinism, the established religion of Scotland. The topic then moves into politics ---government, parliament and the monarchy---, having said, nevertheless, that the capital (London) was a place of “corruption and depravity”.His political analysis is positive and with some taint of praise, because he considers the English “the only people” putting “limits” to the powers of the king. Voltaire traces some parallels with the Roman system, yet, the latter ended up in “slavery” , while the British system in “liberty”. The House of the Lords and the Commons divide the legislative power with the King. On trade and commerce, Voltaire praises the “English superiority over the seas”: “trade enriched the citizens in England so it contributed to their freedom”. One letter approached the “inoculation” topic; it seems, at that time, the English were deemed to be “fool” , because “they give to children” , early on, the small pox to “prevent them catching it”. The English called the Europeans “unnatural and coward”. Maybe the best topics concern Philosophy (Science too) especially when Voltaire makes the difference between French Descartes and the British Newton. Where one sees “”impulsion” to explain motion, the other (Newton) sees “attraction” . These are “contradictory men”. Voltaire would develop at length the major contributions of Newton in the fields of “the laws of gravitation, optics and the ‘infinities of geometry”. But his fellowman Descartes is always a counter point to this peaceful-existence character called Newton. Descartes had been accused of “atheism”; left France, and for some time lived in Sweden; upon returning to France had to pay his “fees”. Other “famous personages” are commented upon, namely “the acute logician” Locke, and Lord Bacon, the father of “the experimental Philosophy”. The remaining letters approach comedy and tragedy, Voltaire’s translation work, and his critical views on Shakespeare (“natural and sublime” but “not a single spark of good taste”). Other “men of Letters” are mentioned with special attention to Pope: “one of the most amiable English poets”. Money for determining the “longitude” …and the Royal Society are the concluding topics.Dear Sir, Voltaire,More than 200 years on I would like to tell you: freedom still reigns in the UK. Since your 18th century, much has happened in those fields you approached in your letters. In 21st century Britain, The Queen is still sovereign; the government and the parliament are elected bodies. You would be delighted to know about 19th century themes such as “species evolution” by Charles Darwin, or the Industrial Revolution. Or, the expansion of the British Empire to the point of the “sun never being set” ,in its various longitudes. Yet, The Empire is gone. The “little” island which you’ve visited still stands, though some political changes have occurred. The Irish got their independence as a nation. The Scotts had a few months ago a referendum on independence. Not yet gained, so the results said.You would be surprised to know about the number of mosques in England;yet you would get terrified on the number in France. Here, in England, there are people from all over the world. The capital city is still “busy as usual”. Can you imagine a few days ago I got to know that in 10 years’ time the one percent richest doubled their wealth?.. and 80 billionaires,it happens, do live in the little place “of corruption and depravity” you were in? Well, May coming, there will be elections; freedom to vote. It’s likely the conservatives will stay in power. Yes, the Tories. You wrote about them… and about the “Whigs”. Recently one “Labour man” acknowledged/suggested “the Dome” (it wasn’t there in the 18th century!!!) was superfluous spending. I end my letter with a letter from the book of Robert Blatchford (“Merrie England”): “Dear Mr Smith, I am sorry to hear that you look upon socialism as…senseless thing and upon socialists as wicked or foolish men”. Au revoir, monsieur François-Marie Arouet.I'll keep you posted.April 25th, 2015.----------------Dear Sir, VoltaireHope you're in good health. [Yeah, National Health was a big topic of the campaign!]Just to inform you the conservatives have won the election; maybe, most important, the Scottish party had a great increase in seats gained (from 6 to 58). As I was writing down this piece it was said that only "10 seats" are missing for a conservative majority.Things haven't changed that much, right? Maybe not.Regards,May 8th, 2015-------------Dear Sir, VoltaireI know you like images with portent; I've seen in it "winds of change"; I'm sure you'll be able to decipher the symbol. The guy on the picture just won the Labour leadership, past this week.Say something,... if you want.Meanwhile, I promise, I'm your postman.All the best,September 19th, 2015-----Dear Sir, -ça-va?Hope you're fine. Just to inform you the UK runs the risk of pulling OUT of the European Union. You cannot imagine how it has been: thousands of refugees from Africa and Asia and the Middle East flooding in this our continent, and how much disunion it has surfaced between Europe's nations on this matter. The euro mess persists. Some other time, I promise, will tell you about the Syria question. Truly messy.Hope you'll reply soon; meanwhile, you know me, I'll keep you posted.Cheers!October the 17th 2015---Sir, take a look at this:Sir, a majority has voted for attacks on ISIL (397 versus 223 votes). ISIL is a so-called State inside present day Iraq and Syria, with aspirations for a world caliphate, allow me to update you. It just happened, a galvanizing speech by Labour shadow foreign secretary Mr B. He said his party leader (the one above, in the picture, near the socialist symbol) was not a “terrorist sympathizer” but a “decent man”; yet, this time around Mr. B will support a military action in Syria (contrary to his party leader view); he sees it as a similar situation to the time when the parliament stood up ”against Hitler and Mussolini”. It has now a UN resolution supporting it.But this same day I got to know the view of a French journalist who had been for months kept captive by ISIL; and you know what he said: just don’t bomb it (ISIL): it’s a trap.So, you figure…All the best3rd December 2015---Sir, just to wish you Happy New Year!Terrible floods, it's been.I'll be back; I want to tell you something interesting about Manchester. You'll have a perspective on what's to be in year 2016.Cheers!4th January 2016PS Sir, I wanted to ask about your aesthetic preferences; so, which one of these paintings do you prefer? As soon as you've made up your mind and choice, just let me know; I will certainly reply; immediately. Right, they're both related to Manchester city.---Sir, I am still waiting for your art (sort of) judgment, ...but have you heard about that discussion in the UK parliament (yeah, the Commons) about that American candidate for the presidency called Trump (of Scottish breed, on the mother side); the list of adjectives is so funny: "idiot", “narcissist” , “buffoon"..., and “a wazzock".Just tell me what you make of this,... and of freedom of speech.All the best.19th January 2016---Sir, a quick note, typical of my times: check on the Boris effect,... and the Brexit; I'll be back.Cheers!23rd February 2016Sir,A referendum on the Britain's membership in the EU,will be held on 23rd of June, this year. I'll keep you posted, meanwhile. Chances are...27th February 2016---Dear Sir,Check on this interactive stuff:"What a difference 400 years makes: the London skyline 1616 v 2016 – interactive"in:à tout à l’heure!3rd of March 2016----Sir, ...on the "Boris effect",He's been saying interesting things regarding this "thing" called EU. The "thing" (my expression) is taking away money from the nations, and control...;it's an "anti-democratic" thing, Boris contends; so, he's pro "vote Leave",....that thing. The visit of the US president to the UK won't change his mind. Mind you, the president is a "stay-in -EU" man. But Boris has found a "paradox" recently and wrote about it: “There is no country in the world that defends its own sovereignty with such hysterical vigilance as the United States of America", so why should the US meddle with the UK right to decide, its own liberty??.No wonder some are telling the visiting president: "butt out".What do you thing think, Sir, about the thinkthing?Regards.PS; I am adding a picture of London in the near future; maybe too ugly terrifying?or?...,You tell me.22nd April 2016---Sir,take a look at this quote:"a reptile ... just fit now, after being twice discarded by the people, to become a Conservative. He possesses all the necessary requisites of perfidy, selfishness, depravity, want of principle, etc., which would qualify him for the change. His name shows that he is of Jewish origin". Yes, April 1835, it was Irish MP Daniel O'Connell who wrote it , about D'Israeli, one who would become UK's prime minister.Anti-semitism is not a new thing. It seems these past days the issue has surfaced almost uncontrollably inside the Labour. Corbyn, the leader, has been trying hard to suppress the old problem (and racism too); some heads are rolling already. But this photo tells something, though:(Corbyn, at a pro-Palestinian rally in London, 2014; he once said that Hezbollah and Hamas are his "friends") Sir, tell me about,... if you may.All the best.3rd of May 2016---Sir, You surely recall I told you about Mosques in the UK, ...and in France. Well, just to inform you: London has just elected a Muslim mayor. As I read in the LBR*, it's "symbolic", though it won't last long, thus wrote Fatema Ahmed. She wrote : "The symbolism of Khan’s win will soon fade, and politics as usual will resume.". But, no one doubts, it's a major change. The discordant voices can be heard: "London is in trouble", says Graham Moore, of the English Democrats party, accusing the elected mayor of having "stood with extremists". Whatever..., Sadiq Khan promised to be the Mayor of all Londoners. We shall see what to make of this man "of British-Pakistani origin". Truly, times have changed. Cheers!7th of May 2016*London Review of Books---Sir, I forgot about this next photo, so I'm adding it now, for a better clarification of the "total picture"; you know.Cheers again!8th of May 2016---Sir,todie,ugh,I mean, today, I read these amazing news about the white cockneys of London's East End, now a minority,being replaced in the past 15 years by migrants. Yeah,do you remember NEWHAM???Just imagine the Drew primary where throughout its corridors one can hear 43 languages being spoken,...what a sort of Babel.Hope you wont day, ugh,die,'s a new world.Wishes of perennial health,....14th of May 2016---Sir,You certainly recall the american presidential candidate Trump, I told you about; a "wazzock", some in the UK called him, trying to ban him from entering into the kingdom of her/his Magesty. At that time Trump was calling for a ban on muslims entering the USA. The UK's PM said it was "stupid,....devisive". And you know what,...Trump now says HE'S BEEN INVITED TO VISIT 10th DOWNING ST. Can you believe it?!??I can.Kind regards,22nd May 2016---Sir,Again the EU-thing. Yesterday, I was informed that, they [EUthingers!!] , EU officials, more than 10,000 are paid above the UK PM salary [£142,000]. And the number of allowences?? you cannot imagine!!! Even free Viagra!! Some day I will explain you about the Viagra. No time now. Have a good day!25th May 2016---Sir,Just to recall the 1994 referendum in Norway,on joining the EU. The "No" won, yet many acknowledge today that the "Yes" side used lots of lies in the campaign; like: jobs to be lost, no investment, interest rates going up, an isolated Norway, ...the EU not listening to "us". It just DIDN'T HAPPEN!! Norway today is better OFF. OFF the EU. As the 23rd of June draws nigh people shouldn't forget the past, even fear campaigns and all types of CONbos, say, like cheaper roaming charges.Kindest regards28th May 2016---Sir,What a letter!!! I mean, not mine, but the one by Justice Secretary Mr Gove and Mr Boris Johnson, to Dave, the PM; accusing him of "lies" on immigration (this is really a hot, hot topic now, for all of Europe, not just the UK) and "basic lack of democratic consent", and a lot more on that creepy thing called EU. You should read it; I'll provide you with a "link", just in case you ask...I'm so eager about this ref' cannot imagine.Cheers!!6th June 2016---Sir, when you see many threats that may mean “pressure” and “fear”, on the side of the established order, or putting it in other words: the EU Fat Cats fear a certain lifestyle to be gone. See these examples. Today I’ve seen a poll suggesting the Danes are in majority pro, leaving the EU. Some days ago I had read that some Germans wanted Britain to stay, while others were threatening with a “no second chance” and “Calais protection” to disappear. Today France was threatening to make Britain “pay” in the case of exit. And yesterday I watched a former PM of Britain speaking about the “economic aftershock” that will ensue, just in case the Leave wins. So much fear. So many threats. It’s the contagion effect they fear, also. One nation leaving may lead to others leaving too. One great enthusiast of the Leave campaign put it this way the (BR)exit scenario: ….[it] would spark an exodus by "many other countries", bringing an end to "the entire European project".I’ll keep you posted, Sir.9th June 2016---Sir,Though not a British citizen, I'm proud of that flag...,just to tell you on the EU Referendum: the Leave won!Can you believe it? I can, though many (especially the pollsters---someday will explain it to you) still had it for granted: to stay in,...kind of , to stay put.I'll be back on the issue; it seems by now a 51,9 % win isn't bad; other European nations have been keen on listening/reading about the results.BRAVE NEW WORLD Europe ENGLAND!Haha!!As I read today: "See EU later!"24th June 2016Sir,I know about "Anti-'Brexit' protest hits London"; and about "Londindependence" and petitions,....and stuff alike.But the Leave won; just like that.Long lives the Brexit!Cheers!28th June 2016Sir,Italians are using Britain's flag to protest EU ruling. Nice summer in their beaches. Hope you're having a good one too. I hope you read Italian:"La Brexit in versione ligure...". Seeya. 4th August 2016

  • Edward
    2019-04-24 10:57

    IntroductionLetters on England--Letter 1: On the Quakers--Letter 2: On the Quakers--Letter 3: On the Quakers--Letter 4: On the Quakers--Letter 5: On the Anglican Religion--Letter 6: On the Presbyterians--Letter 7: On the Socinians, Arians or Anti-Trinitarians--Letter 8: On Parliament--Letter 9: On the Government--Letter 10: On Commerce--Letter 11: On Inoculation with Smallpox--Letter 12: On Chancellor Bacon--Letter 13: On Mr Locke--Letter 14: On Descartes and Newton--Letter 15: On the System of Gravitation--Letter 16: On the Optics of Newton--Letter 17: On Infinity and Chronology--Letter 18: On Tragedy--Letter 19: On Comedy--Letter 20: On Noble Lords who cultivate literature--Letter 21: On the Earl of Rochester and Mr Waller--Letter 22: On Mr Pope and some other famous poets--Letter 23: On the Consideration due to Men of Letters--Letter 24: On Academies--Letter 25: On the Pensées of PascalNotesAppendix: Voltaire's Verse TranslationsChronology of Voltaire's Life and TimesFurther Reading

  • Owlseyes
    2019-05-14 18:38

    Since I ran out of space in my review of this book ["Letters on England"], I take the chance of this French edition’s space to continue my correspondence with my “friend” of old: Voltaire. There are pending issues to talk about. Anyone trying to have a glimpse of the ongoing correspondence and the review of the book should look up here:, the pressing matters. Sir Voltaire,I’ve been worried about this kind of postponing of the Brexit “for-real” ; the referendum is gone, been months now. So, when do you think it will happen? Boris should say something. See you soon!29th September 2016--Sir,I know Boris has (partly) answered my request; he spoke, a few days ago, about the issue saying: "Brexit will be titanic success". Well, nasty voices are talking about the "titanic....SANK". You surely know why; just look at the next photo. You probably know what it will imply. And then again my question: when a Brexit-for-real?Cheers!6th November 2016Sir,It just happened: BREXIT IN USA.You know what I mean.See you soon!9th November 2016Sir,Again, turtle-pace Brexit, I could say; yet moving. Now, after the parliament vote [461 ayes; 89 noes] the UK will trigger article 50 by 31st March 2017. Free-at-last, thereafter? Hope so.By the way, I've found the next picture very curious; I know you care about London.(Janie is an american...)Cheers!8th December 2016--Sir,Again the EU thing; they want €100 billion, upfront, from the UK. They really Next June the 8th, elections will take place; I hope for a real Brexit answer: farewell suckers!I'll be back, Sir4th May 2017

  • Marc-André
    2019-05-08 14:37

    Les lettres philosophiques de Voltaire sont en fait une série de petits articles concernant divers aspects de la culture anglaise. Des arts à la politique, et de la politique aux savants, l'auteur nous offre ici le portrait d'une nation dont les penseurs peuvent s’enorgueillir de leur liberté. La population n'y est pourtant pas sans se soumettre à différentes percées théologiques et Voltaire s'arrête un peu à ce sujet, offrant un avant goût de quelques sectes protestantes comme celles des quakers et des presbytériens. Très bref, le volume se termine par une longue lettre chargée de commenter les pensées de Pascal. Cette lettre, où Voltaire commente des pensées numérotées, nous a été assez pesante que nous n'avons pas su la terminer. Ambiguës comme des pensées se doivent de l'être, il est évident que les Pensées ne cherchent pas à apporter des réponses définitives aux sujets qu'elles abordent. C'est, malgré cela, de telles réponses que Voltaire semble y chercher pour mieux y répondre en courts paragraphes. Dans ces conditions où l'on croirait assister à une chicane plutôt qu'à une honnête recherche, la primauté que donne Voltaire aux Pensées à caractère théologique vient nous achever. Globalement, on a donc apprécier ici un divertissement factuel aux dépends du débat spirituel. Reste que ces commentaires auraient pu être une bonne occasion de se remettre à la philosophie, mais peut-être l'été rend-t-il notre esprit trop frivole pour en supporter la charge.

  • Zach
    2019-05-06 16:52

    Voltaire employs his usual blend of wit, satire, and humor to both elevate the liberal institutions of England over the still feudal Ancient Regime of France while also gently mocking the English in turn. He candidly discusses:Religion: he is strongly in favor of religious tolerance, very strong (comparatively, at least) in England compared to France, but pokes gentle fun at odd English sects like the Quakers.Government: in which he deplores the aristocracy of France compared to the meritocracy of England.Science: in which he has the most unmitigated praise for English scientists, mostly Newton.Literature: in which Shakespeare is a slightly barbaric English version of Corneille - how culture and language colors our views!And, lastly, a discussion(/repudiation) of some of Pascal's Pensees, in which he endeavors to defend the human race against Pascal's Jansenist/Calvinist despair at the depravity of human nature. Which seemed sort of out of place in a collection of writings(/propaganda) discussing England, but fits in well with his philosophy and may have also been inspired by the Calvinists of various stripes he saw in England.All in all, it's an funny, insightful, and thoroughly Voltairian work.

  • Ahmad Badghaish
    2019-05-07 16:39

    أعتقد بأنه لا يمكن فهم الكتاب دون الظروف التي ظهر فيها، في البداية كان المؤلف الفرنسي قد زُج في السجن لبعض المشكلات مع أحد النبلاء، وكانت هذه ثاني مرة يعتقل فيها. فبعد خروجه من السجن هرب إلى إنجلترا، وأعجب بها، فكتب هذا الكتاب الذي يقارن بين فرنسا وإنجلترا. واعتقل الكاتب بسببه وتمت مصادرة الكتاب ومنع تداوله، وقصة مليئة بالمعاناةالمهم ؛ الكتاب لطيف، كما قلت سابقا بأنه مقارنة بين إنجلترا وفرنسا

  • Malak Al-juborry
    2019-05-15 19:04

    التجربة الاولى لي مع فولتير وها نحن نبدا ب ال (الفلسفة )

  • Huda Qasem
    2019-05-09 17:40

    يحتوي الكتاب على 25 رسالة فلسفية، تتضمن الرسائل آراء فولتير بين الشعبين الإنكليزي والفرنسي. تميز فولتير في كتابه بكونه ساخر جداً وجاد جداً في آن واحد.. من قراءاتي لبعض التعليقات والمواضيع عن فولتير، فإنه يوصف دائما بأنه ملحد! ولكنني وجدت من خلال هذا الكتاب بأن فولتير يؤمن بوجود الله، ولكنه معترض مع فكرة الأديان. الكتاب يتحدث عن أكثر من ديانة ومذهب -وبرأيي- يميل لكونه كتاب تاريخي يؤرخ وجود هذه الديانات أكثر من كونه كتاب فلسفي. بمعنى أنه إذا أردت أن تبحث عن مرحلة معينة من القرن الثامن عشر أو فكرة، ديانة معينة يمكن الرجوع إليه ولكن ليس ككتاب فلسفي أو فكر. هاجم فيه فولتير فرنسا وسياستها ودياناتها وأفكارها، ومدح بالمقابل إنكلترا "عدوة فرنسا التقليدية"؛ وهذا استدعى جرح المشاعر الفرنسية التي لم يجرحها الهجوم على الدين!. أما الترجمة هناك الكثير من المعاني العصية عن الفهم والمصطنعة بشكل مبالغ فيه..الرسائل التي يحتوي عليها الكتاب:.الرسالة الأولى والثانية والثالثة والرابعة: حول الكويكر.الرسالة الخامسة: حول الديانة الأنجليكانية.الرسالة السادسة: حول البرسبيتاريين.الرسالة السابعة: حول السوسنية والأريوسية واللاثالوثية.الرسالة الثامنة: حول البرلمان.الرسالة التاسعة: حول الحكومة.الرسالة العاشرة: حول التجارة.الرسالة الحادية عشر: الإلقاح بالجدري.الرسالة الثانية عشر: حول الوزير بيكن.الرسالة الثالثة عشر: حول مستر لوك.الرسالة الرابعة عشر: حول ديكارت ونيوتن.الرسالة الخامسة عشر: حول نظام الجاذبية.الرسالة السادسة عشر: حول بصريات مستر نيوتن.الرسالة السابعة عشر: حول اللانهاية وحول علم الأزمنة.الرسالة الثامنة عشر: حول المأساة.الرسالة التاسعة عشر: حول الكوميديا.الرسالة العشرون: حول السنيورات الذين يرعون الآداب.الرسالة الواحد والعشرون: حول كونت روشستر ومستر والر.الرسالة الثانية والعشرون: حول مستر بوب وبعض الشعراء.الرسالة الثالثة والعشرون: حول إجلال رجال الأدب.الرسالة الرابعة والعشرون: حول للأكاديميات.الرسالة الخامسة والعشرون: حول الأفكار لمسيو بسكال.

  • John
    2019-05-15 17:41

    Note: this is a public domain edition which does not include Letter XXV which was added to later editions.A series of letters written by Voltaire on English religion, politics, science and arts. As usual, I found Voltaire's discussions on the English religious sects and English politics to be the most entertaining. The remaining letters, on science and the arts, were less resonant to modern ears.

  • Mohammad Ali
    2019-04-21 14:50

    ولتر در این نامه ها به نقد وضع فرانسه با نظر به حال و هوای انگلستان می پردازد. البته این بدان معنا نیست که این نامه ها صرفا منحصر به مقایسه ی فرانسه و انگلستان هستند - مثال بارز نامه ی طولانی آخر است که در آن ولتر فقراتی از "اندیشه ها"ی پاسکال را نقل و به آنها حمله می کند. همچنین نباید پنداشت که ولتر به نقد انگلستان نمی پردازد - چنانکه در مورد حزب گرایی شدید آن دیار و همچنین یکی بودن فرهنگستان علم و ادب در آنجا از انتقاد احتراز نمی کند.او در مورد سیاست - به طور خاص بردباری و مدارا و همچنین تقسیم قدرت و حضور مردم - ، در مورد علم - خصوصا نیوتن - و در مورد فلسفه - بیش از همه لاک - به تحسین انگلیس می پردازد. در مورد ادبیات و تاریخ نویسی اوضاع متفاوت است؛ مثلا او به شکسپیر حمله می کند و آثار او را فاقد لطافت آن چنانی می داند - مثال او برای زمختی حضور جادوگران و اعمال منحرف جنسی و ... است - نه از حیث اخلاقی بلکه از حیث عامه پسند بودنشان. در مورد تاریخ نویسی نیز تا بدانچا پیش می رود که انگلیسی ها را فاقد توان تاریخ نویسی می شمارد و می گوید تاریخ آنها را ما فرانسوی ها باید بنویسیم!از مضامین محوری ولتر در این اثر - که خود را به طور خاص در نامه ی مفصل آخر، یعنی نامه ی بیست و پنجم، نشان می دهد - ستایش کار و فعالیت است. از مضامین ادبی دیگری که در این اثر می توان یافت تأکید ولتر بر عدم صحت ترجمه ی تحت اللفظی است - چنانکه با مقایسه ی ترجمه های ولتر با ترجمه های وفادارتر که مترجم در پاورقی متذکر آنها شده است می توان تفاوت های فاحشی در جملات و کلمات را یافت. ولتر ظاهرا بسی بیش از تراژدی به کمدی دل بسته است؛ گویی دغدغه های تراژدی را نخ نما، تاریخ گذشته، و فخرفروشانه می داند؛ اما از آن سو بر ملی و محلی بودن طنزها و دشواری یا حتی عدم امکان ترجمه ی آنها تأکید دارد -زیرا به ظرایف احوال و عادات این یا آن قوم وابسته اند.در پایان باید متذکر شد که سطع ترجمه متوسط به بالا است؛ هر جند در جاهایی مترجم نوعی جمله بندی یا معادل هایی را برگزیده که فهم را سخت می سازد. افزون بر این مترجم در تلاشی ستودنی انبوهی از پی نوشت ها را در پایان کتاب در مورد اسامی خاص و ... فراهم آورده است که حدود 80 صفحه از این کتاب را در بر گرفته اند. هر چند می توان اطناب را در این پی نوشت ها مشاهده کرد اما به هر حال نمی توان سپاسگزار این تلاش نبود.

  • Ensiform
    2019-05-02 17:45

    Translated, with a rambling introduction and rather sporadic annotation, by one Leonard Tancock. It is a series of epistles to no one in particular, comparing the relatively tolerant and free atmosphere of England of the time (1734), as well as its great men of letters and science (Newton and Locke) to that of France, for the benefit of the French public. The book was banned in France. At the same time, Voltaire satirizes certain foibles of the English nobility, the Quakers, English poetry, etc, so he really hits two birds with one stone. Actually, three, because the last letter is a criticism of Pascal’s Pensées – it doesn’t have anything to do with England, but it’s the best section, composed of a few brilliantly cutting and logical rebuttals to some of Pascal’s notes. Although short, this book took me an inordinately long time to read because I had to look up a great number of historical and contemporary references Voltaire made. I enjoyed it where it was witty and sharp, notably the beginning and end.

  • Jack
    2019-05-16 18:42

    (I read this for university as part of a module entitled "The Invention of France").Thoughts:1. It was nice to learn about the French Enlightenment period whilst reading/studying this. I didn't know a lot about it and it's opened my eyes to new ideas to consider when reading 18th century French literature.2. The ways Voltaire wrote letters about his experiences in England as a way of criticising his contemporary French society was a fascinating concept. The cultural comparisons throughout were definitely quite interesting. 2. In terms of the individual letters themselves, I could relate to/understand the ones about art and literature towards the end and enjoyed the discussion/exploration of Shakespeare's tragedies and comedies. But unfortunately very few of the other letters interested me. There was a lot about science and there's a reason I took an arts subject at university... to escape science!! Having to learn about Newton's physics again wasn't something I expected to be doing, and I didn't enjoy it... Equally the stuff about religion wasn't really my kind of thing.

  • Tim
    2019-04-22 18:53

    Part of my informal reading list for the eighteenth century, this is V's love-letter to the English enlightenment. Very interesting for what he has to say about the Quakers, and for a point-by-point demolition of Pascal's Pensees, championing rational enquiry. My head's with Voltaire, but surprisingly my sympathies on this one are with poor, tortured Pascal and his absurd faith in Christianity. But then I didn't like Candide either, so V must be one of those authors who has my admiration but not my allegiance.

  • Andrew
    2019-04-23 10:44

    After studying this text fully, I feel I need to change my rather lacklustre previous review. It is not so much the content of the book that matters (though it is very interesting) but the way that Voltaire writes and what his goal is that matter. In these two areas he excels. His caustic wit and his desire to spread knowledge without necessarily adding to it makes make this an enjoyable read which is at the same time fascinating: there is no doubt a sense of being privy to the prevailing feelings and goals of the Enlightenment. It's hard not to like Voltaire, and this work is no exception.

  • Bahjat Fadhil
    2019-05-19 13:41

    بعد ان سجن فولتير في الباستيل لأكثر من مرةبسبب كتاباتة الساخرة ضد الكنيسة الفاسدة والسلطة،هرب الى انكَلترا وهاهو يعود للكتابة وللسخرية ثانية، في هذا الكتاب، ويروي فية حياة الاضطهاد والمعاناة، وتم اصدار امر بمنع الكتاب وكذالك حرق جميع النسخ القديمة، لكن تم نشرة سرآ بين البعض، وهو عبارة عن مقارنة بين انكَلترا وفرنسا في ذالك.

  • Salah Sameh
    2019-04-23 12:44

    C`est bien, M. Voltaire.Une nouvelle vision, je suppose, de Newton.Il admire L`Angleterre et ses écrivains, poetes mais avec limites.Il a détruit M.Pascal avec ses ``Pensées``.Cependant, J`aime plutot les idées de Voltaire sur La Littérature, la Philo, et l`Histoire plutot que sur La Science.

  • liza
    2019-04-26 16:45

    Voltaire extolls the virtues of England while at the same time poking England in the eye with a sharp stick for holding on to some fairly unreasonable public positions.A must read for anyone interested in understanding modern western civilization.

  • Ahmed Elsherbiny
    2019-04-27 17:00

    كل ما تود أن تعرفه عن التنوير.

  • Francisco Quiroga vergara
    2019-05-12 10:59

    The letters about Newton are beyond fabulous; beautiful and precise descriptions of groundbreaking results. The letters on religion and society were very informative. The letters on art were hard for me to read, because I did not know many authors.I would recommend the book to everyone who has lived in the UK (especially in London). Voltaire delivers interesting (and fun) facts and analyses about the XVII and XVIII history of the UK, including comparisons (and criticisms) with France. Surprisingly, many of these comments feel recent and useful today.I loved the book; I don't give 5-stars simply because I felt it was a bit dry at times.

  • Tyler Jones
    2019-05-15 18:38

    It was a much younger Voltaire who wrote this book than the one who wrote Candide, and he apparently was much more of a prude in his youth because here he's always showing his disapproval of anything vulgar. It is astounding that an author who would one day write scenes such as pirates probing the anal canals of their prisoners in search of hidden diamonds, would have found guys like Shakespeare and Rabelais too crude. Anyway, as a window into mid-eighteenth century England, it gives a few interesting glimpses, but it is unfocused.

  • Arno Mosikyan
    2019-04-22 12:38

    boring..."The superstitious are the same in society as cowards in an army; they themselves are seized with a panic fear, and communicate it to others. The thinking part of mankind is confined to a very small number, and these will never disturb the peace and tranquillity of the world."

  • Jennifer Uttley-Rosado
    2019-05-13 11:48

    Sects, parliament, philo, dramaUnsure of the bard, overrates pope. Otherwise as sage and lively in his opinions as one could want... An honnete homme.

  • Revanth Ukkalam
    2019-05-10 15:47

    A brilliant way to start a new year. A gem of a book from the man of words.

  • Ryan Young
    2019-05-14 16:00

    voltaire yaps about english science, philosophy, drama, poetry, and government. then he takes down some of pascal's more ridiculous pensees.

  • Charlotte
    2019-05-01 15:40


  • Xander
    2019-04-26 16:03

    In Letters Concerning the English Nation (1733), Voltaire describes various phenomena and persons of which he was spectator during his two year visit (from 1726-1728). Voltaire fled France because of a bitter fight with some nobleman called Rohan, and during his two years-stay in England learned the English language and came into contact with a wide variety of Englishmen.It is during this stay that he thought of writing a book on England, for Englishmen. A common misunderstanding is that he wrote this book for a French audience (maybe because this book was originally published in French?). In short, it is a collection of thoughts on topics as religion, politics, science and the arts. The book consists of a total of 24 short letters, which differ in their interestingness and utility. I found the letters on the arts and on politics not really interesting to read (it requires lots of background knowledge of 17th and 18th century works and artists). The letters on religion deal mostly with Quakerism and the relative religious tolerance in England. It is easy to see Voltaire's polemicism against religion. By describing the English tolerance (even though Catholics were discriminated against), he criticizes the French persecution of religious minorities after the revocation of the Edict in Nantes in 1685. The letters on Quakerism were funny to read, but I'm not a connoisseur on this topic, so I can't really give a judgement on them.The most interesting part of the work are the letters on science. Voltaire praizes Francis Bacon for coming up with a new, empirical, way of doing science (in contrast to Aristotelian scholastics); he praizes John Locke for his refutation of Aristotelian and Cartesian ideas of innateness and his philosophical system of human knowledge (whereby a baby is born as a blank slate); he praizes René Descartes for his geometrical discoveries and his innovative way of thinking; and finally praizes Isaac Newton for developing a new philosophical model of the world. Voltaire doesn't only praize Newton, he even undertakes to translate these difficult mathematical ideas into common language, so the ordinary reader can graps the main Newtonian ideas. He gives detailed instructions on Newton's law of gravitation, Newton's discoveries in optics, the Newtonian mathematics necessary for this new system (integral and differential calculus) and Newton's chronology of the world. According to the introduction (to the Oxford edition), this book was a bestseller in the 18th century. I almost can't believe this. Voltaire writes cleverly and whitty, but the content doesn't really seems (to me, at least) revolutionary. It is interesting to read the thoughts of a Frenchman on contemporary England, but nothing more. Maybe it just goes to show much humanity has learned and developed since those times - food for thought.

  • Daniel
    2019-05-16 14:42

    I found Candide amusing, smart and playful. It excelled in what it was naturally brilliant at, throughout the book from start to finish. And as far as comedies go, which for me, is something exceedingly hard to produce well enough to make me chuckle in spoken word let alone on a page, its fine and dandy. It gave more of an appreciation and connection to the author than the characters roaring from the confines of the ink. After finishing the novel, which is too small for something with so much potential, but then again, to keep going with something which works well but seems to have reached its natural end by the final page, could only lead to a lessening of the potential value to a reader. That is loosely connected to the reason I didn't persevere with Don Quixote. It seemed well written and amusing, but more of the same routines replicated chapter after chapter with different colours and shapes, linked together by a pleasant, steady plot which oscillated between playing equal, second and dominant fiddle to the escapades. Still...I have learned of too much appreciation of that tome, by hearts and souls and minds I respect and enjoy. It will be given a second chance.Voltaire. Indeed...he found a hidey-hole to escape the focus of my sniper in the long grass cross-hair, but now I have him cornered.Letters on England was penned when Voltaire was enduring/enjoying an exile of sorts, from his homeland of France. The context is important to note. For as with Candide, this book is very much, if not more-so, a reflection of the character of the author, as it is a study of merely the observations of a Frenchman, in this case in England, during the lively period of History when it was written.Some of the book had my mind working in similarly exciting ways which Burroughs drags me, in a more fiercely magical/intellectual manner. Some of it had me pondering Existence in a different way, not just different words. And then various sections proved too technical. No Candide, and as a series of what are in essence, essays of varying length, I can only compare it to...the only two similar in any way offerings I have read and know; Montaigne and Burroughs- The Adding Machine.He fares badly when facing The Adding Machine, for interesting and smart and amusing as he is, Voltaire is no genius. He would have to catch Burroughs on a cut-up day to better him. Set facing Montaigne, his countrymen, he comes up trumps. The subject matter plays a meaningful part in this measuring and grading, but only as much as the characters behind the lines.Adequate and engaging enough for a fan of Candide, yet not worthy of any higher recommendation.

  • Francisco Paniagua
    2019-05-01 14:41

    Este Voltaire oscila entre el corresponsal que confronta políticamente a la Inglaterra liberal con la Francia prerrevolucionaria del s. XVII, y entre el crítico literario de los escritores ingleses de la época —por cierto, Shakespeare no sale muy bien parado ante el gusto del francés–; sin embargo, esto no es lo único que se lee en el volumen y asistimos a una caterva de impresiones, de muy diversas índoles y que a ratos puede parecer inagotable, a lo largo de 25 cartas que acercan a la obra, en más de una ocasión, al género de la literatura “de viaje” contrastando con lo que de “filosóficas” puedan tener las mismas. Aquí dos lecturas son posibles: aquella que reposa el peso del título en la última carta (una diatriba contra Pascal como autor de los «Pensamientos») o bien aquella que retoma el significado original de la palabra “filosofía”.No quiero quitarles el gusto de que lo descubran por ustedes mismos.

  • Renae Pérez
    2019-05-17 10:48

    Ehhhhhhh. Some of the letters were really interesting, but then others were not. Like I found the religion/government/society stuff interesting, but discussing Newton’s theories is super not interesting to me. I don’t do science. At all. But, even so, I thought Voltaire offered interesting insight on the whole England vs. France situation. And then the whole Pascal thing was actually rather amusing because Voltaire decided to let his snark out and it was really really super snarky. I guess those Enlightenment dudes had a pretty good sense of humor after all. But, I mean, the rest of it wasn’t too great for me. So…eh. From a historical standpoint, yeah sure this was okay. I guess.Reviews & more at Respiring Thoughts

  • George
    2019-05-11 11:40

    Voltaire's Letters concerning the English nation make for a fascinating look at the French author's experience of early 18th century England, which involved everything from learned ladies and small-pox inoculation methods to Quakerism and religious pluralism. One particularly interesting aspect of the Letters is the way he writes about Enlightenment thinkers John Locke and Sir Isaac Newton, with him situating himself as an heir to their philosophical and scientific achievements.This is a book for readers who enjoy learning about Voltaire or the age and society in which he lived.