Lettres persanes
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Lettres persanes

3.68 of 5 stars 3.68  ·  rating details  ·  2,602 ratings  ·  53 reviews
L'étonnement de deux voyageurs persans est prétexte à une peinture sans tabou de la fin du règne de LouisXIV. Les particularismes du temps, tout comme les faiblesses et les inclinations naturelles de la nature humaine, sont observés d'autant plus attentivement qu'ils le sont d'un point de vue extérieur. Usbek, principal locuteur de ce roman épistolaire où les lettres s'ent...more
Paperback, 444 pages
Published June 21st 2006 by Livre de Poche (first published 1721)
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Jim
Montesquieu may not be known to you, but he is largely responsible for the system of checks and balances in the U.S. Constitution between the Executive, Legislative, and Judicial branches of government. The Founding Fathers of our country were deeply influenced by Montesquieu's The Spirit of the Laws, which he wrote later in life.

The Persian Letters, however, was written a quarter century earlier and was one of the most popular books of its time. Montesquieu has, in effect, created an epistolary...more
Algernon

How to sell a book 300 years old to a modern reader? What is the appeal today of the epistolary musings of a couple of Oriental travellers having a first contact with Western civilization at the end of King Louis the 14th? Here are some points that I hope will tickle your interest:

1 - The Persian Letters were not written as history, but as a contemporary satire of French civilization, using ridicule and common sense to expose the more unsavoury mentalities and practices of fellow countrymen. Thi...more
فضيض
لا أعرف ما شعوري تجاه هذا الكتاب ..

في الصفحات الاولى شعرت بالملل، ولم أفهم فائدة هذا الكتاب، ولكن مع تقدمي قي القراءة أصبحت لا أستطيع مفارقته وأصبحت أختلس لحظات صغيرة من هنا وهناك لأقرأ رسالة جديدة من رسائل الكتاب البالغة 161 رسالة

فهذه الرسائل تشكل رواية فلسفية كُتبت على طريقة الرسائل المتبادلة بين أشخاص الرواية، منها ما هو جد شيق ويحبس الأنفاس، ومنها ما هو على شكل مقالة أدبية إجتماعية سامية، لو حذفنا العنوان واسم المرسل إليه، لما خالجني شك بأنها قطعة من مقالة مفردة لا رسالة

أهم ما في هذه الرسائ...more
Justin Evans
The nice thing about reading early 'novels' is that they so often have nothing in common with a typical contemporary novel. That's definitely the case for PL, of which only the first dozen and the last half dozen pages are are connected in any kind of narrative. Not only that, the narrative is immensely dull, unless you're the sort of person who gets off on descriptions of Harem life. Such people are, I'm sure, less common now than they were in the 18th century. A general warning: if you're pron...more
El
This book, "a sort of novel", is an epistolary story of two Persian travelers, Usbek and Rica, who travel to Europe. Usbek leaves behind five wives and a handful of eunuchs to watch over them. The letters are sent from and to a variety of the people, and each of them reflect on some form of culture, whether the men's perspective of Western civilization or Usbek's wives' opinions on their own society and their place within it.

What makes this particularly interesting for me is that while the novel...more
Amandine
Une lecture assez proche des "Bijoux indiscrets" de Diderot, mais que j'ai préférée à celle-ci par certains aspects: tout d'abord, le choix du roman épistolaire qui atteste en quelque sorte l'authenticité du récit, bien qu'il aurait davantage pu en déployer toutes les possibilités comme l'a fait Laclos plus tard. Ensuite, la trame amoureuse qui parcourt tout le roman, tout comme dans les "Bijoux", m'a beaucoup plu, surtout par sa conclusion. Celle-ci montre les limites de la philosophie d'Usbek:...more
Okbah
كنت دائما ما أطرب لأولئك الذين ينقدون منطرف خفي نتيجة لظروف سياسية او اجتماعية او دينية تمنعهم من النقد الصريح أو ربما اختيارا لأسلوب أبلغ وأشد ايقاعا في النفس من المباشرة المملة والمكرورة.
في سنين سبقت الربيع العربي كنت استمتع بمقالات لكاتب يدعز "ماهر عبد الجليل" من تونس في صحيفة الحياة اللندنية.. كانت تلك المقالات لا تخرج عن الاطار الاجتماعي البحت لكنها ترسل اشد رسائل النقد السياسي في ثنايا الكلمات والحديث.
مونتسكيو هنا وفي قالب درامي وبالرسائل الاخوانية متقمصا شخصيات تنتمي لشعب آخر قرر بعض افرا...more
T.F. Rhoden
Any book that has the staying power that this title has had will have merit. Published nearly three hundred years ago (in 1721), Persian Letters by Montesquieu is an epistolary novel that traces the fictional correspondence between two eighteenth-century Persians and their countrymen as they travel through the occidental world for the first time, eventually settling in Paris for a decade during the remaining years of Louie XIV’s reign. The book illustrates what we would now call today culture sh...more
Samhy
En commençant la lecture des Lettres persanes un peu par hasard, je ne m'attendais pas à trouver ce livre si agréable. Du début à la fin, cela aura été une vraie surprise.

Ce livre a été écrit par Montesquieu il y a plus de 290 ans et pourtant de nombreux thèmes continuent de résonner dans nos sociétés modernes et peuvent être source de réflexion.

Pour éviter une attaque trop directe, Montesquieu prend pour prétexte une correspondance entre étrangers comparant la vie en Europe, plus particulièreme...more
فاطمة الابراهيم
هذا الكتاب أشبه بمن يدس في الحساء رساله ملفوفه بعناية لسجين !

أكثر من مائة وخمسون رسالة يعبر الفليسوف الفرنسي الساخط مونتسكيو على مجتمعه الباريسي الذي بالغ في تحرره لحد الفجور والتباهي بالمعاصي ، وقد تروق للبعض تلك الرسائل لأنها اسردت كرواية إلا أنها ليست سوى التنفيس عن غضبه بالنقد والتحليل وإعجابه بثقافة الفرس وطهارة نسائهم ، والتزام ذلك الشعب بالبعد عن المسكرات ولجوئهم لوسائل علاجية أكثر منطقيه بدلاً من الافراط في الرذائل كوسيله للتهرب من المشاكل ، وبين الرسائل يسخر من تلاعب الأساقفة والبابا بت...more
Gabriela
There are valuable lessons of life in this collection of letters. I would read them again and again. Each time finding new pieces and learnings to fall in love with. In French especially, this oeuvre is marvelous.
Ghanem Abdullah
المفكر الفرنسي مونتسكيو، صاحب كتاب “روح القوانين”، يطرح في كتاب “رسائل فارسية” نقدًا سياسيًا واجتماعيًا وثقافيًا، عبر أسلوب جديد مثير، وهو الرسائل التي يغلب عليها روح السخرية والتهكم، المبطنة بالمعاني شديدة اللهجة لما يجري ويحدث في فرنسا خصوصًا وأوروبا عمومًا.

مونتسكيو يختلق قصة أمير مسلم فارسي، اسمه أوزبك، شغوف بالمعرفة والحكمة، فيغادر بلاده نحو الغرب، باحثًا عن أرضٍ يجد فيها بغيته، ويصل باريس ويراسل أهله الذين تركهم وراءَه، ناقلاً لهم مشاهداته وخبراته في الحاضرة الأوروبية العريقة.

لكن مونتسكيو،...more
Genia Lukin
3.25/3.5 Stars.

This is, in many ways, an important little book. it's a social satire of France in the early 18th century as well as the presentation - in literary form - of some of Montesquieu's doctrine.

It's rather amusing, in many ways, even to the modern reader, though in the case of at least this modern reader, the amusement stemmed more from seeing how the French of 300 years ago perceived the East, more than how they perceived themselves.

Despite the value and amusement of this book, its ma...more
Christopher Rush
This is a fine book, full of interesting perspectives on 18th-century political, religious, and social issues. It must have been controversial back in the day, and like most things of such a nature, it doesn't make a stir now. Perhaps the most perplexing thing is the editorial-translator work of C.J. Betts. Why does he turn all the French money into British money? It's clear throughout the letters the Persians are mostly in Paris and its environs ... why use British money? Surely even in 1973, t...more
Alan
A remarkable book. Its topics read as if written in 2010: Persian/ "Iranian" Islam trying to convert Armenian Christians and Zoroastrians because of the new Shah's edict. Hence, all the Armenians fled, emptying with a stroke of the pen "all the skilled workmen, and all the businessmen of Persia."
Then there are the gender issues, letters written by favorite wives in the seraglio to their husband in Paris; or, the chief eunuch's letters on the difficulty of guarding the seraglio, especially Roxann...more
Lavinia
Boring... Maybe reading it in original didn't help either. Most of what was written is so long outdated, that in order for it to have been interesting, the form and the literary qualities should have been of a much greater value then they are. I guess it's a matter of taste, I don't find letter-novels very appealing. And sometimes I had a hard time finding the connection between the letters - it's not like a book that goes from a beginning to an end, it's just a collection of facts and view of...more
E.J. Matze
This richly evocative novel-in-letters tells the story of two Persian noblemen who have left their country - the modern Iran - to journey to Europe in search of wisdom. As they travel, they write home to wives and eunuchs in the harem and to friends in France and elsewhere. Their colourful observations on the culture differences between West and East culture conjure up Eastern sensuality, repression and cruelty in contrast to the freer, more civilized West - but here also unworthy nobles and bis...more
TarasProkopyuk
Довольно занимательная книга.

Читая подобные книги понимаешь, что человечество практически не меняется. Арабы, а точнее персияне свежим взглядом хорошо изобразили быт Европы и дали характеристику нравам её граждан ещё в начале 18-го века.

Благодаря данной книге можно понять как на наш мир смотрят наблюдательные люди более отдалённых от европейских государств стран, особенно которых разделяет не только расстояние, но и религия, нравы и обычаи.

Но в книге не только о европейцах, а еще благодаря этой...more
Marc L
Typische roman in brievenvorm
Kracht: evolutie van de personages; variatie tussen harem-correspondentie (exotisch, sappig) en saaiere filosofische brie-ven (dienen ook als contrapunt); relativering van de absolute geldigheid van gebruiken en inzichten
personages
- usbek: gericht op wijsheid; inzicht in relativisme en dikwijls sceptisch, maar twijfelaar; meer en meer gericht op rede en deugd; maar niet toegepast op eigen harem; eerder pessimistisch
- Rica: jonge, vitale man; sterk ironiserend en sati...more
Taweewat
I never really truly understand this book while I read it for my class. There are many idea behind it that I just simply don't get.
Mirta Stamenić
Slightly better than some of the other 18th c. novels I've had the misfortune to read, but not enough to merit another star. My favourite part has got to be when Mehmet Ali explains why Muslims can't eat pork in letter 17, I couldn't stop laughing.
Loredana Adriana
I had to study The Persian Letters at college and I thought to myself... oh, no, this is going to be boring. But no! I had the most amazing surprise ever. I must admit, I read them in both French and Romanian (my own language) but not in English. This collection of letters had a special charm to it and I enjoyed reading every single one of them. Thus, I recommend this book to all! It's wise and quite actual. Not at all boring. Guaranteed!
Beatrice Bowles
Delcious and brilliant, a novel in fictional letters between two travelling Persian rulers. You might laugh out loud at their hilarious views of European culture and customs, especially women's freedom. The Persians also send and receive racy messages to and from their harem favorites at home and to the eunuchs who must guard them from other men's eyes. Pure genius at work and play!
Maxx
A strangely contemporary post-ironic skewering of Western civilization; something like the Team America of its time. While it ruthlessly mocks Parisian culture, it ultimately vindicates it using hateful and ignorant stereotypes of those who stand outside it. And also much like Team America, it is wildly and spitefully entertaining.
Andrew Boes
speculation is a grand endeavor - it both looses and gains meaning when it arises as satire. To do what Montesquieu has done before the arrival of modern media sources is amazing. While there are certain flaws and falsehoods throughout, this work looses no relevance in the modern world.
Mike Edwards
As a critique of European society, this is a fantastic work. Just be warned that Montesquieu had absorbed many of the biases of his day, so his portrayal of a Middle Eastern man is riddled with stereotypes and is extremely uncomfortable to modern sensibilities.
Francisco
La novela epistolar ofrece un marco claro para presentar tesis políticas y sociológicas como en este caso. Literatura aseada, pulida, ágil (muchas de las cartas son muy breves), de abundante ingenio y fácil lectura.
Maryam Talakoob
Parts were thought provoking specially those letters that compared the Persian culture to French. Other parts were revolting like how the Persian traveler talks about his Harem of women and the unechs.
Mahboubeh
Aug 07, 2007 Mahboubeh rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everybody
you can see how a man can leave everything he has and travel all over the world to get knowledge regarding to his simple thoughts.These letters make a story that take you through persian cultures in 1970 .
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  • Les caractères
  • Le neveu de Rameau
  • Letters on England
  • Manon Lescaut
  • Reveries of the Solitary Walker
  • Les Fourberies de Scapin
  • Lorenzaccio
  • Andromaque
  • Lettres de mon moulin
  • Le jeu de l'amour et du hasard
  • The Heptameron
  • La guerre de Troie n'aura pas lieu
  • The Princesse de Clèves
  • The Chouans
  • Three Tales
  • Les Diaboliques
  • Selected Letters
  • Le Mariage de Figaro
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Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He wa...more
More about Montesquieu...
The Spirit of the Laws (Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought) تأملات في تاريخ الرومان De L'esprit Des Lois, Tome 1 Montesquieu: Selected Political Writings De L'esprit Des Lois, Tome 2

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“What unhappy beings men are! They constantly waver between false hopes and silly fears, and instead of relying on reason they create monsters to frighten themselves with, and phantoms which lead them astray.” 12 likes
“They who love to inform themselves, are never idle. Though I have no business of consequence to take care of, I am nevertheless continually employed. I spend my life in examining things: I write down in the evening whatever I have remarked, what I have seen, and what I have heard in the day: every thing engages my attention, and every thing excites my wonder: I am like an infant, whose organs, as yet tender, are strongly affected by the slightest objects.” 11 likes
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