"Pearson...makes a compelling case for the fundamental importance of narrative in Voltaire's writings....Perceptive analyses of lesser-known tales as well as the better-known yield valuable insights."--Choice
"A very good book....Pearson has surveyed what he calls the `fables of reason' in a solid, exegetical style and has provided, at the end of his essay, a provocative discussion of the two radical interpretations conferred on Voltaire - as the apostle of Enlightenment (Paul Valery) or the precursor of twentieth-century totalitarianism (Isaiah Berlin). What distinguishes Pearson's essay is his readiness to take on the big names in Voltaire studies and offer more nuanced views of Voltair's purposes and attitudes."--Eighteenth-Century Fiction
"In a much needed, thorough reexamination of Voltaire's philosophic tales, Roger Pearson brilliantly uncovers in The Fables of Reason: A Study of Voltaire's
Contes Philosophiques the literary and linguistic strategies that place narrative ambiguity at the heart of Voltaire thought....Pearson's prose is lively and engaging, his observations keen and witty; in short, his readers will have a difficult time resisting the temptation to re-read Voltaire's stories at least once again."--French Review
About the Author
Roger Pearson is at The Queen's College, Oxford.