«Accidenti al dettaglio»: Voltaire, lo storico impaziente

Marc Hersant


Considered from a strictly formal point of view, the concision of Voltaire’s narrative style could be compared with the indifference, and even despise, that Voltaire as historian always showed toward details. On the contrary, the paper argues that such analogy is just apparent in so far as the reasons of Voltaire’s refusal of detail in his historical works are mainly methodological: they concern the criteria of historical relevance of past events rather than the stylistic or rhetorical features of his prose writing. Voltaire criticizes the use of detail in ancient historians and memorialists because he contests the traditional historical method and pleads for a «new historiographical world» where the «spirit of the age» is the main character, and not princes, conquerors or heroes.


Voltaire; Historical Method; Narrative Style; Anecdote; Detail

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2421-4124/5183


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