'Oliver Goldsmith et ses Memoires de M. de Voltaire'

Graham Gargett

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


    This chapter shows how Oliver Goldsmith managed to compose his enigmatic Memoirs of M. de Voltaire, traditionally regarded as a biography brilliantly written, with a real feel for Voltaire the man, but full of egregious errors. However, when one realises that this was the first biography of Voltairle in any language, its merits become more astonishing than its defects. Where did Goldsmith cull his material? I attempt to show that this was largely from a series of occasional pieces, including letters and other biographical or pseudo-biographical material, published regularly in editions of his complete works, under titles like 'Melanges'. The Cramer edition of 1756 is the only one to contain all the pieces in question, so I argue that it was this, probably borrowed from Ralph Griffiths, that inspired Goldsmith's biography.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationLes Vies de Voltaire: discours et representations biographiques, XVIIIe-XXIe siecles
    EditorsChristophe Cave, Simon Davies
    Place of PublicationOxford
    PublisherUniversity of Oxford
    VolumeSVEC 2
    ISBN (Print)978 0 7294 0929 2
    Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 2008

    Bibliographical note

    Reference text: Oliver Goldsmith, Voltaire, Memoirs of M. de Voltaire, Cramer edition


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