Voltaire Historiographer

Narrative Paradigms

Siofra Pierse

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ISBN: 9780729409322

Publication: May 6, 2008

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 2008:05

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Voltaire’s historical works reflect his own changing roles and preoccupations from conteur to campaigner. His groundbreaking historical output of thirty-eight texts, composed throughout his long career as a writer, is now receiving renewed critical attention.

In the first study to explore the whole range of Voltaire’s writings in this domain, Síofra Pierse looks at the irreducible ambiguity of the term histoire, both factual truth and the way it is represented – ‘history’ and ‘story’. She discusses how Voltaire’s theories of history interact with other, more literary considerations, and analyses how a search for truth overlaps with a desire to create a compelling narrative that engages the reader in a deeper, collaborative, and polemical project.

In Voltaire historiographer: narrative paradigms, Síofra Pierse brings to light how the philosophe exploits the potential of history not simply to record the past, but to influence the present and shape the future.


List of abbreviations

Introduction: Historiographerie

I. Narrative

1. The historiographer

2. The author

3. The reader

II. Story

4. Digressions

5. Heroics

III. Truth

6. Fact and fable

7. Truth and doubt

Conclusion: beyond history

Appendix: Corpus summary



'La force de Voltaire historiographer vient de ses analyses systématiques de la rhétorique de Voltaire, qui permettent à l’auteur de nous montrer un Voltaire plus subtil dans ses stratégies de narrer l’histoire que ses contemporains et ses prédécesseurs.[...] Ce livre vient à point après les livres et articles récents [...] sur les histoires de Voltaire, et pose des jalons pour de nouvelles recherches, qu’elles soient plus théoriques ou littéraires, sur les récits historiques de Voltaire.'
- Cahiers Voltaire


Format: Paperback

Size: 234 × 156 mm

297 Pages

Copyright: © 2008

ISBN: 9780729409322

Publication: May 6, 2008

Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 2008:05

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