Œuvres de 1737

Author: Voltaire

Volume: 17

Series: Œuvres complètes de Voltaire

Publication Date: 1991

Pages: 609

ISBN: 978-0-7294-0421-1

Price: £105


1737 was a year in which Voltaire was in great danger from his political enemies and, in place of literary work, threw himself into Newtonian metaphysics, focussing on an Essai sur la nature du feu, et sur sa propagation for the prestigious Académie des sciences annual essay prize. Clarifying his ‘système de morale’ on human happiness and liberty, Voltaire wrote seven Discours en vers sur l’homme and was also inspired to write Le Songe de Platon, a conte philosophique contesting Plato’s social ideas. He also began the tragedy most acclaimed during his lifetime, the classically inspired Mérope.

Table of contents

Essai sur la nature du feu, et sur sa propagation (critical edition by W. A. Smeaton and Robert L. Walters)

Mérope, tragédie (critical edition by Jack R. Vrooman and Janet Godden)

Discours en vers sur l’homme (critical edition by Haydn T. Mason)

Le Songe de Platon (édition critique par Jacques van den Heuvel)

Minor verse (critical edition by Ralph A. Nablow)
     A M. de La Condamine
     Madrigal, ‘On disoit que l’himen a l’intérest pour père’


Mérope (publ. 1744), edited by Jack R. Vrooman and Janet Godden, the manuscripts and editions being exhaustively studied by Andrew Brown, represents the high point of Voltaire’s ambition to recreate classical tragedy in France. […] The whole history of the composition of Voltaire’s play and of his epistolary debate with Maffei is highly revelatory of eighteenth-century French and Italian conceptions of the principles of verse tragedy. […] Two short poems edited by Ralph A. Nablow illustrate Voltaire’s gift for minor verse infused with a genuine sensibility. The volume as a whole makes a valuable contribution to the understanding of Voltaire’s mind in the Cirey period and of the evolution of his thought thereafter.

E. D. James, French Studies 49.3

Voltaire Foundation

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