Posts Tagged: voltaire
At the New York Times, Alice Gregory and Pankaj Mishra discuss the role of moralism in the novel—and conclude that authors should seek to question and provoke rather than preach:
Not only does moral preoccupation corrupt the artfulness of fiction, but fiction is an inefficient and insincere vehicle for moralizing.
Voltaire became steeped in the country’s rules of criminal procedure, a labyrinth he found appalling: “As there are half-proofs, that is to say, half-truths, it is clear that there are half-innocent and half-guilty persons. So we start by giving them a half-death, after which we go to lunch.” He fretted at how France appeared to other nations—“Do they not say that we know how to break a man on the wheel but do not know how to fight?”—and steamed at the judicial system’s secrecy, which allowed Toulouse’s Parlement to keep to itself the evidence used to convict.