The ironical scourge of modern times. About Montesquieu, "Lettere persiane", edited by Domenico Felice, Milano, Feltrinelli, 2020, 442 pp.

Gaetano Antonio Gualtieri

Abstract


Considered by most of the critics as a mere work preparatory to "Esprit des lois", in extreme cases also as a divertissement, the book "Lettere persiane" by Montesquieu, edited by Domenico Felice, is seen in a new light. This work should be taken into consideration not only as anticipating Montesquieu’s masterpiece, but also as a political and philosophical treatise and, in addition to this, a writing with its own precise specificity and autonomy. Besides, "Lettere persiane", points out the author’s opposition to the despotism and the oppression of man in all its forms; by the use of irony, the French philosopher expresses a deep feeling of seriousness and a certain pessimism which deny the prejudice according to which this work of Montesquieu’s is the result of the author’s enjoyment.

Keywords


Montesquieu; Lettere persiane; East and West; Philosophical and political treatise; Despotism

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/11495

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