Customer Review

14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars noble work, noble cause, 24 May 2004
This review is from: Persian Letters (Classics) (Paperback)
born into the French nobility in 1689, Montesquieu went on to publish the Persian Letters in 1721. With a writing style that displays a sharp wit, Montesquieu originally published this book anonymously, as in its pages he criticses the French Church, Louis XIV, The Pope, Poetry and Parisian culture. Montesquieu uses corrospondence between two eminent Persians visiting Europe to vent his frustrations with France in his day. The Persian letters also go on to discuss deeper philosophical matters such as the concept of the virtuous life.
The Persian letters is a must for anyone interested in Montesquieu or the French Enlightenment. It is the book which launched his notoreity and set the tone for his political and sociological masterpeice, the spirit of the laws in 1734. Ispiting Rousseau, The Persian letters politically focuses on the brilliance of the 'republics' of the world, but this was a view that Montesquieu would eventually abolish in favour of admiring England's constitutional monarchy. The Persian Letters is a fine work of Historical significance.
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Showing 1-2 of 2 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 21 Feb 2010 12:26:50 GMT
P. J. Martin says:
Your last comment is not quite correct, I think. Montesquieu thought that the English monarchy was the best monarchy as it had political liberty as its end. His Spirit of the Laws seems to me just as much descriptive as prescriptive and he likes the English system because there is a balance between the orders of government. He thought much of the spirit of republicanism was present in the English system and that it was something of a mixed mode. I'm not sure he 'abolished' his view of republics because for people of his time the republics of Athens and Rome were shining examples of societies, eventually ruined through the accession of despots.

Posted on 12 Dec 2011 08:27:01 GMT
MJ says:
The same customer reviews appear under both the Penguin and Oxford translations of this book.

These are different editions, with different translators. Does anybody know which edition/translation they apply to, or have any views on the respective merits of the Oxford and Penguin editions?
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