The Best of All Possible Marriages: Voltaire and Frederick in 'Paméla'

Fowler, James (2013) The Best of All Possible Marriages: Voltaire and Frederick in 'Paméla'. French Studies, 67 (4). pp. 478-493. ISSN 0016-1128. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided)

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A recent edition of Voltaire's 'Paméla' (1750–53) by Jonathan Mallinson emphasizes that it exists ‘on the border of truth and fiction, of openness and concealment’. In the first letter of Paméla, Voltaire describes a landscape of exceptional natural beauty, near Cleves; but he also reveals that in this case nature has been arranged according to human design. The only visible evidence of this is a statue of Minerva. Yet it turns out that, in a sense, ‘all is art’ here, for a former count of Nassau-Siegen had ordered the entire scene to be landscaped. Set within Paméla, this passage functions as a mise en abyme, for Voltaire's text too cultivates an artful appearance of naturalness. This article shows how the philosophe initially presents his text as a spontaneous ‘fatras de prose et de vers’, but cannot resist hinting at the art that subtends the whole.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PC Romance languages
P Language and Literature > PQ Romance literatures
Divisions: Faculties > Humanities > School of European Culture and Languages > French
Depositing User: Fiona Godfrey
Date Deposited: 28 Aug 2012 13:30
Last Modified: 09 Jul 2014 15:35
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