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Voltaire and England

Nicholas Cronk explores how Voltaire's encounter with English culture both influenced the writer personally and had far-reaching consequences for Enlightenment thinking generally.

Series exploring the work of the French writer and philosopher Voltaire.

Professor Nicholas Cronk, director of the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford, explores how Voltaire's encounter with English culture both influenced the writer personally and had far-reaching consequences for Enlightenment thinking generally.

He explains why Voltaire came to England in the first place and considers why the book of essays he wrote - Letters Concerning the English Nation - has been described as 'the first bomb thrown at the ancient regime' - a praise of the country and a covert criticism pre-revolutionary France.

With his vivid and often highly contemporary observations on religion, business, politics, science, philosophy and literature, Voltaire's book on England is as striking today as it was to both French and English readers when it was first published in 1733.

Reader: Simon Russell Beale.

15 minutes

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