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The Persian Letters

Based on the 1758 edition, this translation strives for fidelity and retains Montesquieu's paragraphing. George R. Healy's Introduction discusses The Persian Letters as a kind of overture to the Enlightenment, a work of remarkable diversity designed more to explore a problem of great urgency for eighteenth century thought than to resolve it: that of discovering universals, or at least the pragmatic constants, amid the diversity of human culture and society, and of confronting the proposition that there are no values in human relationships except those imposed by force or agreed upon in self-interested conventions.

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