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Persian Letters

Penguin Books / 1973 / Paperback

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Product Description

A bestseller in his own day, Montesquieu's Persian Letters are more than Western fantasy's about the "exotic east". Rather, his orientalist fantasies about two Persian men who leave their harem to see the wonders of Paris and the west, disguises greater truths about his own French society, and the moral and social principles of the times. 342 pages, softcover.

Product Information

Format: Paperback
Vendor: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 1973
Dimensions: 8.12 X 5.12 (inches)
ISBN: 0140442812
ISBN-13: 9780140442816
Availability: In Stock

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Author Bio

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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