Voltaire's British Visitors
Gavin De Beer and André-Michel Rousseau
The accounts run from a bare mention of a visit, consisting of a few lines, to fascinating accounts of lively conversations with Voltaire about politics, religion and English literature and descriptions of his home at Ferney with its chapel and little playhouse. John Morgan in 1764, visiting with a Mr Samuel Powel, writes of his surprise when Voltaire saw a little dog in the room, turned to Mr Powel and 'as I thought, a little abruptly ask'd him, what think you of that little dog; has he any Soul or not, & what do the People in England now think of the Soul.' James Boswell, who stayed for three days in 1764, calls Voltaire's home an 'enchanted castle' and records conversation ranging from impassioned Biblical debate to Voltaire's comment on Scotland's painters when Boswell told him of the failure of an Academy of painting there: 'No; to paint well it is necessary to have warm feet. It's hard to paint when your feet are cold.' Together, these one hundred and fifty vignettes offer a fascinating and unusual glimpse into Voltaire's life from 1754 to 1778 through immediate and personal accounts of his conversation, hospitality and domestic life.
Size: 239 × 163 mm
Copyright: © 1967
Publication: January 1, 1967
Series: Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment 49