Eléments de la philosophie de Newton

Author: Voltaire

Volume: 15

Series: Œuvres complètes de Voltaire

Volume Editors: Robert L. Walters, W. H. Barber

Publication Date: 1992

Pages: 829

ISBN: 978-0-7294-0374-0

Price: £125


The Eléments de la philosophie de Newton constitute Voltaire’s most ambitious achievement in the field of scientific exposition, the climax of an enthusiasm for Newton and his discoveries, which had begun in London in the 1720s. Running counter to the Cartesian philosophical and scientific model which had prevailed in France since the 17th century, this astonishing work melded physics with poetry to make Newton’s ideas accessible and bring the French scientific community into the 18th century.

Table of contents

Eléments de la philosophie de Newton (critical edition by Robert L. Walters and W. H. Barber)


L’ample introduction (p. 3-180) comporte d’excellentes mises au point sur le newtonianisme en France avant [Voltaire] et sur l’attitude de [Voltaire] envers la science newtonienne, ainsi que l’histoire du texte depuis la 1re édition (1738) jusqu’à l’édition Cramer de 1756. […] Toutes les variantes sont indiquées et l’annotation, sobre, est impeccable. […] Cet ouvrage, attendu depuis longtemps, [est] l’édition fondamentale du Newton de Voltaire.

Roland Desné, Dix-huitième siècle 25 (1993)

It is a fundamental work for understanding the diffusion of Newtonianism and the development of the Enlightenment, especially in France. […] Despite the size of the volume, the critical apparatus is clear and easy to use. […] We should utilize this fine edition of a fundamental text in eighteenth-century natural philosophy.

Alan E. Shapiro, Isis 84.4 (1993)

Voltaire Foundation

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