Writings of 1768 (III)

Author: Voltaire

Volume: 67

Series: Œuvres complètes de Voltaire

Volume Editors: Simon Davies, John Renwick, Basil Guy, Christopher Todd

Publication Date: 2007

Pages: 451

ISBN: 978-0-7294-0900-1

Price: £105


Even by the hyperactive standards of Voltaire, 1768 was to prove a remarkable year and this volume is distinguished by a multiplicity of works. His interest in eastern Europe manifested itself in the Discours aux confédérés catholiques, he was anxious to smooth over matters concerning the alleged thefts of manuscripts by La Harpe through the Déclaration, and was delighted when a ship was named after him, publicising the event by composing the Epître à mon vaisseau. His playful practice of attributing his works to pseudonymous authors was joyously continued (Instruction du gardien des capucins de Raguse, Lettre de l’archevêque de Cantorbéry), and revenge was enacted on the author of the Compère Matthieu, a work attributed to Voltaire in 1766. The reverberations of the Bélisaire affair of 1767 are reflected in a number of texts: the Déclaration, the Lettre de l’archevêque de Cantorbéry, La Prophétie de la Sorbonne, Les Trois empereurs en Sorbonne, Le Sermon prêché à Bâle and the Epître écrite de Constantinople. Personal scores are settled with La Bletterie and with a new target in Le Pyrrhonisme de l’histoire, Chiniac de la Bastide; the basis of the authority of Rome and the Scriptures is characteristically undermined in Les Droits des hommes, the Epître écrite de Constantinople and the Instruction du gardien des capucins de Raguse; and the doctrines of Christianity are likewise ridiculed in the scathing dialogue of the Relation du bannissement des Jésuites de la Chine. In some respects, however, 1768 can be regarded as a year of relative optimism, with Voltaire’s belief, perhaps, that the philosophic cause was gaining ground.

Table of contents

Epître écrite de Constantinople (Simon Davies) Le Sermon prêché à Bâle, le premier jour de l’an 1768 (John Renwick) Lettre de l’archevêque de Cantorbéry à l’archevêque de Paris (John Renwick) La Prophétie de la Sorbonne de l’an 1530 (John Renwick) Relation du banissement des Jésuites de la Chine par l’auteur du Compère Mathieu (Basil Guy) Déclaration (Christopher Todd) Les Droits des hommes et les usurpations des autres (Simon Davies) Discours aux confédérés catholiques de Kaminiek en Pologne (Simon Davies) Les Trois Empereurs en Sorbonne (John Renwick) Instruction du gardien des capucins de Raguse à frère Pédiculoso (Simon Davies) Le Pyrrhonisme de l’histoire (Simon Davies) Shorter verse of 1768 (Simon Davies): A Mme Du Bocage, qui avait adressé à l’auteur un compliment Avec tous les talents de destin l’a fait naître Epître à mon vaisseau Ode sur la guerre des Russes contre les Turcs Remboursements [A M. l’abbé de la Bletterie, auteur d’une vie de Julien et de la traduction de Tacite; Remerciement d’un janséniste au saint diacre François de Paris; Troisième remboursement; La Charité mal reçue; Cinquième remboursement]


Journal for Eighteenth-Century Studies

Voltaire is still suspect to many as a historian, yet his comments in Le Pyrrhonisme, although occasionally quirky, show a very sane and reasonable preoccupation with achieving a happy medium between scepticism and credulity. […] Anyone interested in Voltaire as a historian should read and meditate on this text.

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