The Art of the Persian Letters: Unlocking Montesquieu's "secret Chain" (Google eBook)

Front Cover
University of Delaware Press, 2005 - Literary Collections - 289 pages
1 Review
Some thirty years after the initial publication of Montesquieu's Persian Letters in 1721, the author hinted at the presence of "a secret, and somehow unnoticed, chain" tying together this entertaining, insightful, yet disparate collection of fictional letters to and from two Persian travelers in France. Ever since Montesquieu's subtle hint, readers have tried to identify the chain, but the riddle has resisted solution. The reason may be that no one has actually looked for a hidden chain--composed of separate links--but instead for a unifying theme. In The Art of the Persian Letters Randolph Runyon takes the chain metaphor seriously, showing that the chain is not thematic but linguistic and structural, as each letter is linked to its neighbors on either side by echoing words and situations despite their different contexts. Montesquieu's epistolary novel emerges as a delightfully self-referential work of art, full of hidden allusions to their persistently doubling structure. Randolph Paul Runyon is Professor of French at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.
  

What people are saying - Write a review

We haven't found any reviews in the usual places.

Contents

Acknowledgments
9
Getting There Letters 122
25
First Impressions Letters 2343
52
Usbek Loosens Up Letters 4463
91
The Disordered Library Letters 6479
127
Less Is More and Other Hidden Topics Letters 8097
149
A Machine in Action Letters 98122
185
The Beginning of the End Letters 123146
201
Disorder in the Seraglio Letters 147161
241
Appendix
259
Notes
276
Copyright

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2005)

Randolph Paul Runyon is Professor of French at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

Bibliographic information