|10-26-2007, 08:56 PM||#1|
Join Date: May 2007
Location: South Wales, UK
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Voltaire: The Princess of Babylon, IMP,v.1, 27 Oct 2007.
Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet de Voltaire)
The Princess of Babylon
(La princesse de Babylone)
The translation is based on that of that of the anonymous Glasgow edition of 1769.
The king of Babylon organises a tournament in which the prize is his beautiful daughter’s hand in marriage. She comes to love the civilised, vegetarian Amazan. An unfortunate misunderstanding separates them and they travel the world alternately seeking one another and fleeing from one another.
The travel narratives allow Voltaire to comment on the social mores of his time: there are flattering portrayals of Catherine the Great’s Russia and the English, and unflattering accounts of the Vatican and Germany. As ever, Enlightenment values prevail.
The text came from a mutilated version in archive.org. This seems to be based on a prudish 19th-century American version of the Glasgow edition. After I had removed the many ocr errors, I realised that the text had been heavily censored: all the sexual references had been very heavily pruned and one brief episode involving people of different ethnicity had been entirely omitted, as had all the gay allusions. Also, most of Voltaire’s invocation to the Muses (which he oddly placed at the end of the work) was missing. Fortunately, I have a paper copy, so typed the missing passages straight back in. I believe that this is now the most complete English version freely available online.
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