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ISBN: 0486426734
Author: Voltaire
Language: English
Publisher: Dover Publications (October 20, 2011)
Pages: 176
Category: Humanities
Subcategory: Other
Rating: 4.8
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Size Fb2: 1398 kb
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Letters on the English (or Letters Concerning the English Nation; French: Lettres philosophiques) is a series of essays written by Voltaire based on his experiences living in England between 1726 and 1729.

Letters on the English (or Letters Concerning the English Nation; French: Lettres philosophiques) is a series of essays written by Voltaire based on his experiences living in England between 1726 and 1729 (though from 1707 the country was part of the Kingdom of Great Britain).

Printed for C. Davis in Pater-Noster-Row, and A. Lyon in Russel-Street, Covent-Garden. HE present Work appears with Confidence in the Kingdom that gave Birth to it: and will be well satisfied with its Fortune, if it meets with as favourable a Reception as has been indulg'd to all the other Compositions of its Author. The high Esteem which Mr. de Voltaire has always discover'd for the English, is a Proof how ambitious he is of their Approbation

Philosophical Letters: (Letters Concerning the English Nation).

Philosophical Letters: (Letters Concerning the English Nation). It remains a landmark of the Age of Reason. Read on the Scribd mobile app.

Best known for his philosophical novel Candide, Voltaire ranked among the leading intellectuals of the Enlightenment .

Best known for his philosophical novel Candide, Voltaire ranked among the leading intellectuals of the Enlightenment period.

Translation of: Lettres philosophiques. The Letters were first published in French in the following year, 1734. cf. Bengesco, G. Voltaire, v. 2, p. 9-14. The ornaments are those used by William Bowyer. Title vignette; tail-pieces. Leaves A4 and G3 are cancels. Includes "A letter concerning the burning of Altena, as related in the History of Charles XII. King of Sweden": p. -253. Errata at foot of p. at end. Advertisements: p. - at front. ASC: from the Yolton Library Rare Book Collection.

In his Philosophical Letters, Voltaire provides a pungent and often satirical assessment of the religion, politics .

In his Philosophical Letters, Voltaire provides a pungent and often satirical assessment of the religion, politics, science, and arts of the England he observed during his nearly three-year exile. Voltaire writes as an Englishman writing home to a fellow Frenchman.

Philosophical Letters book. Start by marking Philosophical Letters: (Letters Concerning the English Nation) as Want to Read

Philosophical Letters book. Start by marking Philosophical Letters: (Letters Concerning the English Nation) as Want to Read: Want to Read savin. ant to Read.

Although most his arguments are of course outdated, the book definitely gives the reader a glimpse into the 18th c. enlightened mind

Although most his arguments are of course outdated, the book definitely gives the reader a glimpse into the 18th c. enlightened mind. However some remain relevant today, and the reader may even find one on which to find common ground. Although still a man of his time, it is always surprising to read how open-minded he was.

XIX (Philosophical Letters). Also in the Library: Subject Area: Political Theory. Forced to go into exile in England, he was very impressed with the practice of religious toleration he found there, the comparative liberty the English enjoyed in economic activity, and the vigorous intellectual life.

French Revolution in 9 Minutes - Продолжительность: 10:17 John D Ruddy Recommended for you.

Best known for his philosophical novel Candide, Voltaire ranked among the leading intellectuals of the Enlightenment period. His two-and-a-half-year sojourn in England left a profound impression, and these letters — written as though explaining English society to a French friend — focus on the country's religion and politics, with commentaries on Quakers, the Church of England, Presbyterians, Anti-Trinitarians, Parliament, the government, and commerce. They also include essays on Locke, Descartes, and Newton. Voltaire was much influenced by English tolerance, and his observations on the subject sounded a revolutionary note among European readers that resonated for long afterward. First published in English in 1733, Philosophical Letters was condemned by the French government as "likely to inspire a license of thought most dangerous to religion and civil order." It remains a landmark of the Age of Reason.

Comments:

AnnyMars
A very strong study. It took weeks to read it all.
Runehammer
it was rental
Gelgen
François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778; known by his nom de plume Voltaire) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. He was perhaps the most influential writer of his times. This book was originally published as “Letters Concerning the English Nation”; in 1734 it was condemned by the Parliament of Paris, and ordered to be burned. Voltaire writes as an Englishman writing home to a fellow Frenchman. [NOTE: page numbers below refer to teh 150-page paperback edition.]

He notes, “This is the country of sects. An Englishman, as a free man, goes to Heaven by whatever road he pleases. Yet, though everyone here may serve God in his own fashion, their genuine Religion, the one in which people make their fortune, is the sect of the Episcopalians, called the Church of England… No one can hold office in England or Ireland unless he is a faithful Anglican. This argument… has converted so many nonconformists that today not a twentieth of the population lives outside the lap of the established Church.” (Pg. 22) He adds, “Clergymen go to the tavern sometimes, or custom allows it; if they get drunk they do so in a serious-minded way and with perfect propriety.” (Pg. 24)

He observes, “Go into the Exchange in London… and you will see representatives of all the nations assembled there for the profit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian deal with one another as if they were of the same religion, and reserve the name of infidel for those who go bankrupt. There the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist, and the Church of England man accepts the promise of the Quaker. On leaving the peaceable and free assemblies, some go to the synagogue, others in search of a drink; this man is on the way to be baptized in a great tub in the name of the Father, by the Son, to the Holy Ghost; that man is having the foreskin of his son cut off, and a Hebraic formula mumbled over the child that he himself can make nothing of; these others are going to their church to await the inspiration of God with their hats on; and all are satisfied. If there were only one religion in England, there would be danger of tyranny; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty, and they live happily together in peace.” (Pg. 26)

He points out, “It appears to me almost certain that animals cannot be mere machines. Here is my proof: God made them for precisely the same sense organs as our own, and so it they do not feel, God has made a useless work. Now even you acknowledge that God does nothing in vain, and so He has not manufactured all those organs of feeling in order that no feeling should be done with them, and therefore animals are not mere machines.” (Pg. 57)

He states, “we should never fear that any philosophical opinion could harm the religion of a country… Never will philosophers set up a religious sect. Why? Because they do not write for the people, and because they are without enthusiasm. Divide the human race into twenty parts. Nineteen of them are composed of those who work with their hands, and will never know if there is a Locke in the world or not. In the remaining twentieth part how few men do we find we read! And among those who do read there are twenty who read novels for every one who studies philosophy. The number of those who think is exceedingly small, and they are not aiming to disturb the world.” (Pg. 58)

He comments on Pascal’s Pensees, “I have a stake, no doubt, in the existence of a God; but if, in your system, God has only come for so few persons; if the smallness of the number of the elect is so frightening; if I can do nothing at all by myself, tell me, if you please, what I have to gain in believing you. Have I not an obvious interest in being persuaded to the contrary? How can you have the effrontery to show me a limitless happiness, to which, out of a million men, hardly one has the right to aspire? If you want to convince me, set about it in another way, and don’t go telling me about games of chance, about bets, about heads and tails…” (Ph. 123)

Voltaire’s letters are still as witty as when he wrote them, and his philosophical observations are just as pertinent.
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François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778; known by his nom de plume Voltaire) was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. He was perhaps the most influential writer of his times. This book was originally published as “Letters Concerning the English Nation”; in 1734 it was condemned by the Parliament of Paris, and ordered to be burned. Voltaire writes as an Englishman writing home to a fellow Frenchman.

He notes, “This is the country of sects. An Englishman, as a free man, goes to Heaven by whatever road he pleases. Yet, though everyone here may serve God in his own fashion, their genuine Religion, the one in which people make their fortune, is the sect of the Episcopalians, called the Church of England… No one can hold office in England or Ireland unless he is a faithful Anglican. This argument… has converted so many nonconformists that today not a twentieth of the population lives outside the lap of the established Church.” (Pg. 22) He adds, “Clergymen go to the tavern sometimes, or custom allows it; if they get drunk they do so in a serious-minded way and with perfect propriety.” (Pg. 24)

He observes, “Go into the Exchange in London… and you will see representatives of all the nations assembled there for the profit of mankind. There the Jew, the Mahometan, and the Christian deal with one another as if they were of the same religion, and reserve the name of infidel for those who go bankrupt. There the Presbyterian trusts the Anabaptist, and the Church of England man accepts the promise of the Quaker. On leaving the peaceable and free assemblies, some go to the synagogue, others in search of a drink; this man is on the way to be baptized in a great tub in the name of the Father, by the Son, to the Holy Ghost; that man is having the foreskin of his son cut off, and a Hebraic formula mumbled over the child that he himself can make nothing of; these others are going to their church to await the inspiration of God with their hats on; and all are satisfied. If there were only one religion in England, there would be danger of tyranny; if there were two, they would cut each other’s throats; but there are thirty, and they live happily together in peace.” (Pg. 26)

He points out, “It appears to me almost certain that animals cannot be mere machines. Here is my proof: God made them for precisely the same sense organs as our own, and so it they do not feel, God has made a useless work. Now even you acknowledge that God does nothing in vain, and so He has not manufactured all those organs of feeling in order that no feeling should be done with them, and therefore animals are not mere machines.” (Pg. 57)

He states, “we should never fear that any philosophical opinion could harm the religion of a country… Never will philosophers set up a religious sect. Why? Because they do not write for the people, and because they are without enthusiasm. Divide the human race into twenty parts. Nineteen of them are composed of those who work with their hands, and will never know if there is a Locke in the world or not. In the remaining twentieth part how few men do we find we read! And among those who do read there are twenty who read novels for every one who studies philosophy. The number of those who think is exceedingly small, and they are not aiming to disturb the world.” (Pg. 58)

He comments on Pascal’s Pensees, “I have a stake, no doubt, in the existence of a God; but if, in your system, God has only come for so few persons; if the smallness of the number of the elect is so frightening; if I can do nothing at all by myself, tell me, if you please, what I have to gain in believing you. Have I not an obvious interest in being persuaded to the contrary? How can you have the effrontery to show me a limitless happiness, to which, out of a million men, hardly one has the right to aspire? If you want to convince me, set about it in another way, and don’t go telling me about games of chance, about bets, about heads and tails…” (Ph. 123)

Voltaire’s letters are still as witty as when he wrote them, and his philosophical observations are just as pertinent.

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