Erasmus and Voltaire: Why They Still Matter
Despite comparisons between Erasmus and Voltaire having become common-place in the course of the nineteenth century, this is the first full study to bring them together in their careers, their works, and their historic afterlives. Each was a force for change in his time and thus ranks among the masters of modern liberalism. Beginning with the continuities between the Renaissance and the Enlightenment, award-winning scholar Ricardo J. Quinones joins Erasmus and Voltaire as voices of moderation and reason that remain capable of addressing the philosophical crises of twentieth-century thought.
A companion piece to Dualisms, Quinones' 2007 book, Erasmus and Voltaire differs in method: where its predecessor looked to inveterate, unyielding differences, this new work looks to similarities. In delving beneath the obvious differences between these two intellectual giants, Quinones uncovers the great practical and spiritual vocations that unite them.
- Division: Scholarly Publishing
- World Rights
- Page Count: 240 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.0in x 9.0in
Reviews‘Subtle and grounded in historical and biographical events … Erasmus and Voltaire: Why They Still Matter is a book to be read by both Renaissance and Enlightenment scholars.’
Erasmus Society Yearbook
‘Deploying a magisterial command of the literary, historical, and philosophical scholarship ... Quinones finds in the dualisms and skeptical optimism of Erasmus and Voltaire a relevance that resonates with the modern world.’
Thomas L. Cooksey
South Atlantic Review
'Extremely worldly and sophisticated, Erasmus and Voltaire both engaged with the most important ideas of their times. Champions of civilization and tradition, they were revolutionary in some ways, but ready to hold the line in contradistinction to the more rebellious ideologues of their time. It is always a pleasure to read the work of Ricardo J. Quinones, and this fine study brings to light the parallel development of these two figures, with a clarity and appeal I have never before seen in writing on either Erasmus or Voltaire.'
David M. Hertz, Department of Comparative Literature, Indiana University
'In Erasmus and Voltaire, Ricardo J. Quinones' erudition and soaring thought allow him to offer original insights into the works of these two intellectual giants. By juxtaposing the lived experiences and writings of both Erasmus and Voltaire, this superb study makes one figure a foil for the other and gives depth and piquancy to what is an eloquent interpretation of their lives.'
Erika Rummel, Department of History, University of Toronto
'Cultural history, comparative literature, historical typology and intellectual history all in one, Erasmus and Voltaire is Ricardo J. Quinones's summa—an impassioned celebration of two literary giants. In a series of powerful and close readings of Erasmus and Voltaire, Quinones reflects on the modern condition with penetrating ancillary commentaries that range from Shakespeare to Thomas Mann. Writing with the urgency and fervor of a pamphleteer, the author calls for a restoration of the courage, benevolence, imagination, gradualism, sanity, and ultimate illumination that we discover in his two subjects. This is a book that should be read by all literary scholars, historians, philosophers—and statesmen!'
Paul Barolsky, Art History, University of Virginia
'Ricardo Quinones, the principal proponent of "Dualisms," that fascinating category of intellectual rivalry, has written a complementary book bringing together figures of similar type living centuries apart. His expectation that this comparison will enhance the importance of both his exemplars, Erasmus and Voltaire, is amply realized.'
Eva Brann, Senior Faculty and Dean Emerita, St. John's College
Author InformationRicardo J. Quinones is a professor emeritus in the Department of English at Claremont McKenna College.
Table of contents
List of Abbreviations
1 Names for Bastards
2 England, always England
Works: Children of a Fortunate Hour
3 Erasmus's Letter to van Dorp and Voltaire's Letter to Rousseau
4 Works Finding Their Ways
5 The Survivors: Praise of Folly and Candide
6 Never a Peace: 'Thus always Cain or Abel'
Epilogue: Recurrence and Recognition
Subjects and Courses