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p. 696. The Genevanlocked

  • Nicholas Cronk

Abstract

In the mid-1750s, Voltaire’s reputation was high: Montesquieu’s death in 1755 left Voltaire as the undisputed leader of the philosophes and Adam Smith spoke of him as a dominant literary figure of the age. And yet, Voltaire had rarely felt more unsettled. ‘The Genevan’ describes how Voltaire settled in French-speaking Geneva, an important centre of publishing, with his niece and companion, Marie-Louise Denis. In 1756, Cramer published a complete edition of Voltaire’s writings, marking a milestone in Voltaire’s literary career. Voltaire’s successive responses—a traditional philosophical poem and the novel Candide (1759)—to the catastrophe of the 1755 Lisbon earthquake show strikingly how his thinking about literary genre was evolving.

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