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Literary Collections Letters

Correspondance générale d'Helvétius, Volume IV

1774-1800 / Lettres 721-855

by (author) Claude Adrien Helvétius

edited by David Smith, Peter Allan, J.A. Dainard, Marie-Thérèse Inguenaud & Jean Orsoni

University of Toronto Press, Scholarly Publishing Division
Initial publish date
Jul 1998
Letters, Political, France
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    Publish Date
    Jul 1998
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    Jul 1998
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    Jul 1998
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This is the fourth of five volumes of the letters of the French philosopher Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771), author of the controversial De l'Esprit (1758). Featuring the correspondence of Mme Helvétius, née Anne Catherine de Ligniville (1722-1800), in the years following her husband's death, this volume also includes letters by and to Helvétius discovered since the publication of the first three volumes.


Mme Helvétius enjoyed an active widowhood, welcoming to her salon in Auteuil a group of intellectuals who came to be known as the Idéologues. A close friend of Benjamin Franklin, she was involved in political events before and during the French Revolution, as well as in Napoleon's coup d'état. In the last letter of the series her grandson describes her burial in her garden, which took place without religious or revolutionary ceremony in the presence of all her favourite pets.


Most of the newly discovered letters are addressed to Helvétius by figures as important as d'Alembert, Boulanger, Chastellux, Saint-Lambert, Servan, Thieriot, and Trublet. Some of these complete an existing exchange, others provide dates for letters already published.


The fifth and final volume will be devoted primarily to a comprehensive index. It will also include a chronological list of all the letters, corrections and modifications, and other useful material.

About the authors

Claude Adrien Helvétius (1715-1771) was a French philosopher, freemason, and littérateur.

Claude Adrien Helvétius' profile page

David Smith, author of the British best-seller Free Lunch, is economics editor of The Sunday Times and an economic adviser to Rupert Murdoch. He is a familiar voice on British radio and television, commentating on economic matters.

David Smith's profile page

Peter Allan is a professor of French at Mount Allison University.

Peter Allan's profile page

Alan Dainard is a professor of French at University of Toronto

J.A. Dainard's profile page

Marie-Thérèse Inguenaud is a professor of French at the University of Paris VII

Marie-Thérèse Inguenaud's profile page

Jean Orsoni is a professor of French at the University of Quebec at Trois-Riv�res.

Jean Orsoni's profile page

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