Siècle de Louis XIV by Voltaire (critical edition by Diego Venturino) - T. 11B

Work published with the scientific and financial support of the CRCV.

Œuvres complètes de Voltaire : Siècle de Louis XIV (IB), directed by Diego Venturino, “Œuvres complètes de Voltaire” Collection, t. 11B, Oxford: Voltaire Foundation, June 2019, 507 p. (ISBN: 978-0-7294-1222-3).


2015 marked the 300th anniversary of the death of the Sun King, Louis XIV (1638-1715), whose reign defined the era of the “Grand Siècle”, and saw France become the major power in Europe. To mark this anniversary, the Voltaire Foundation of Oxford University, in collaboration with the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles, is publishing the Siècle de Louis XIV, Voltaire’s seminal work and the first major account of Louis XIV’s reign. This is essential reading for anyone interested in the political and cultural history of the era of the Sun King.

This new critical edition, edited by Diego Venturino, was published between 2015 and 2019 in seven volumes (volumes 11A, 11B, 12, 13A, 13B, 13C and 13D of Œuvres complètes de Voltaire) with the academic and financial support of the Centre de recherche du château de Versailles.

First drafted in the early 1730s, published in 1751 and repeatedly revised up to 1775, the Siècle de Louis XIV is a milestone in Voltaire’s career as a historian-philosopher. The work signals the beginning of modern historiography as well as modern literary history. As the first major account of the reign of Louis XIV, it remains today the (often controversial) starting point for any reflection on the political and cultural history of the Sun King, and is an example of eighteenth-century historiography that cannot be bypassed.

This volume (t. 11B) contains the concluding part of the introduction to this definitive edition of the Siècle de Louis XIV. This volume traces the history of the text from early manuscript drafts, through its evolution in print up to the first posthumous edition. It also includes a suite of critical editions presenting various texts that surround and shed light on the Siècle: manuscript notes, open letters published by Voltaire in periodicals, and forewords and prefaces from variant print editions. An indispensable resource for anyone interested in Voltaire’s work, as well as the historiography of the reign of the Sun King and eighteenth-century material bibliography.
Collaborated in this book: David Adams, Valérie Bajou, Linda Gil, James Hanrahan, Laurent Portes and Diego Venturino.

Read the presentation of the complete edition.

Read the Voltaire Foundation blog pieces relating to the Siècle de Louis XIV.

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