Here is the only available English translation of one of the landmarks of European Enlightenment thought, Voltaire's 1764 edition of A Pocket Philosophical Dictionary. Highly entertaining and still highly relevant, the dictionary actually consists of a sequence of short essays, arranged in
alphabetical order, covering everything from Apocalypse and Atheism to Tolerance and Tyranny. The unifying thread of these articles is Voltaire's vitriolic critique of established religion: ridicule of established dogma, attacks on superstition, and pleas for toleration. Witty and ironic, this is
very much a work of combat, part of Voltaire's high-profile political struggle in the 1760s to defend the victims of religious and political intolerance. This new translation is based on the definitive French edition of 1764 that provoked widespread controversy and condemnation. In his Introduction
Nicholas Cronk considers the nature of Voltaire's engagement in political debate, literary style, contemporary reaction, the lasting impact of the work and its continuing relevance to debates on religious intolerance. The volume also includes an up-to-date bibliography and full explanatory notes.
About the Author
John Fletcher is Honorary Senior Research Fellow at the University of Kent. Nicholas Cronk is Professor of French Literature and Director of the Voltaire Foundation at the University of Oxford.