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Kees van Strien, "Voltaire’s final year in Dutch newspapers"

samedi 7 janvier 2012

Revue Voltaire 12 (2012), p. 295-319
Kees van Strien, "Voltaire’s final year in Dutch newspapers".


From February 1778 onwards the Dutch and French newspapers published in the United Provinces paid much attention to Voltaire’s glorious return to Paris. Particularly the gazettes d’Amsterdam, d’Utrecht, de Leyde and de La Haye reported the events in considerable detail. These papers, widely circulated in France, continued to do so after Voltaire’s death, when the Paris papers, due to pressure from the authorities, fell silent on the subject. It was thus mainly through papers printed abroad that the French public learned about the fruitless efforts of the clergy to prevent a Christian burial and of the Académie française to commemorate Voltaire in public. Until the very end Voltaire remained a controversial personality, also for the editors of some newspaper. Whereas the Gazette d’Utrecht, which had long been very well-disposed towards Voltaire, presented him as a victim of persecution and even claimed that Voltaire, so critical of religion, might have served it by his unremitting fight against fanaticism, the Gazette d’Amsterdam (in a comparison between him and Rousseau) wondered whether it might not have been better if Voltaire had never been born.