Archive for January, 2013

In 1721, the letters of two imaginary Persian travelers, Usbek and Rica, caused a sensation in France. Creatures of the fertile mind and pen of the great philosophe, Montesquieu, they came to epitomize the hazards of being a naïf in the great capital of Paris. Not only were they subjects of curiosity and scorn because of their foreign ways, but their innocent questions about French customs, manners and politics amounted to a scathing, satirical social critique. Attempting to minimize the blowback he knew was coming, Montesquieu wisely published The Persian Letters, his first best-seller, in Holland. (more…)


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