Voltaire Historiographer

BookVoltaire Historiographer

Voltaire Historiographer

Narrative Paradigms

Oxford University Studies in the Enlightenment, 2008:05


May 6th, 2008



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Voltaire’s historical works reflect his own changing roles and preoccupations from conteur to campaigner. His groundbreaking historical output of thirty-eight texts, composed throughout his long career as a writer, is now receiving renewed critical attention.
In the first study to explore the whole range of Voltaire’s writings in this domain, Síofra Pierse looks at the irreducible ambiguity of the term histoire, both factual truth and the way it is represented – ‘history’ and ‘story’. She discusses how Voltaire’s theories of history interact with other, more literary considerations, and analyses how a search for truth overlaps with a desire to create a compelling narrative that engages the reader in a deeper, collaborative, and polemical project.
In Voltaire historiographer: narrative paradigms, Síofra Pierse brings to light how the philosophe exploits the potential of history not simply to record the past, but to influence the present and shape the future.

'La force de Voltaire historiographer vient de ses analyses systématiques de la rhétorique de Voltaire, qui permettent à l’auteur de nous montrer un Voltaire plus subtil dans ses stratégies de narrer l’histoire que ses contemporains et ses prédécesseurs.[...] Ce livre vient à point après les livres et articles récents [...] sur les histoires de Voltaire, et pose des jalons pour de nouvelles recherches, qu’elles soient plus théoriques ou littéraires, sur les récits historiques de Voltaire.'
- Cahiers Voltaire