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Autograph letter in French to Francesco Algarotti (1712-64), essayist, poet, philosopher, scientist & art lover in Rome.
Dated: Cirey [-sur-Blaise] 4 June [1736]. - 7 pages in 4to. Voltaire expresses his regrets for having wronged Algarotti affirming his friendship with him in a warm letter: ‘You know how I have waited for you to reproach me for my error by feeling it, and I am inconsolable when I think of the immense time that I shall spend without being able to tell you myself how happy I am to have been in the wrong, and how annoyed I am at the same time, let us forget forever I beg you that I could suspect you, and that you have spent three months without writing to me, please be in hopes that it will not happen to you again; in whatever land you may be living, I always wish that you may have friendship for me,’ Voltaire says he would be hurt if Algarotti did not visit Cirey (n.1) on his way to Italy ‘for you cannot be excused from passing through France, and only fifteen leagues from me, think of me as a hotel ’ ‘ we shall not go to Lorraine (n.2) if you do not want to, and if you do, we will go, before that wretched wandering king (n.3) takes possession of it,’, ‘ I do assure you, .if you skip Cirey when you go to Italy, it really would be rushing it, you will do just as you please, and I shall never complain of anything that can accelerate the charming project of establishing yourself on the far side of the mountains, it will depend on you, but come back and see the [?] mezzanines (n.4), you would not recognise Cirey, you would see the first of the Emiliens(n.5), . (added in manuscript by Francesco Algarotti:) ‘Cirey, 4 June [1736]. At present Cirey is looking its best. The lovely Emilie was there and the first of the Emiliens. (Voltaire) It would be good to make a pilgrimage to come and see us as the divine Saba [?] will this [?] Spring. It is certain that Cirey will become the Mecca of well-bred people.’ The young Venetian scientist and poet, Francesco Algarotti, had visited the Chateau de Cirey in 1735 at the insistence of Voltaire and his host and mistress Emilie de Bretueil (the ‘two Emiliens’). He had just composed his ‘Newtonism for Ladies’, inspired by Newton’s experiments in optics, which was to give him international renown, and read from his manuscript to his delighted hosts, who were greatly impressed by his erudition and style based on the writings of Fontenelle to whom the work was dedicated. Algarotti saw his weeks at Cirey as a model of the refined taste and good living enjoyed by the social elite of the day. (1) Chateau de Cirey, about 250 km from Paris, owned by the blue stocking, Emilie de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet, became Voltaire’s refuge in 1734 when he fled Paris from persecution by the French parliament following the publication of his Lettres Philosophiques (1734) suppressed by censorship; (2) Cirey was situated near the border with Lorraine, then an independent province outside French jurisdiction, and thus an ideal refuge for Voltaire who could cross the border to escape if necessary; (3) the exiled Polish king, Stanislaw Leszczynski,(1677-1766), was made Duke of Lorraine and Bar in 1736 by his son in law Louis XV of France, and resided at Lunéville; (4) Voltaire undertook major restoration of the chateau, enlarging it by creating a long gallery; (5) Voltaire here calls himself ‘the first of the Emiliens’, as the partner of Emilie de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet; the ‘two Emiliens’ being himself and his mistress residing at Cirey. [PLEASE ASK FOR FURTHER TRANSLATION OF LETTER CONTENTS]
      [Bookseller: Hünersdorff Rare Books ABA ILAB]
Last Found On: 2017-12-01           Check availability:      AbeBooks    


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