Read İran Mektupları by Montesquieu Free Online


Ebook İran Mektupları by Montesquieu read! Book Title: İran Mektupları
Language: English
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 8.87 MB
v The author of the book: Montesquieu
Edition: Ark Kitapları
Date of issue: 2004
ISBN: No data
ISBN 13: No data
City - Country: No data

Read full description of the books İran Mektupları:

How to sell a book 300 years old to a modern reader? What is the appeal today of the epistolary musings of a couple of Oriental travellers having a first contact with Western civilization at the end of King Louis the 14th? Here are some points that I hope will tickle your interest:

1 - The Persian Letters were not written as history, but as a contemporary satire of French civilization, using ridicule and common sense to expose the more unsavoury mentalities and practices of fellow countrymen. Think of Montesquieu as the 1721 version of The Colbert Report or The Daily Show:

I saw a survey here on Goodreads asking what I would do if I had a time machine. One answer would be to go back to early 18 century, pick up Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brede et de Montesquieu, and bring him back to 2012 to do a tour of the talk shows. I'm sure he would be quite at ease and dazzling in his commentaries.

2. According to political scientist Donald Lutz, Montesquieu was the most frequently quoted authority on government and politics in colonial pre-revolutionary British America, cited more by the American founders than any source except for the Bible. So, if you are not ready to tackle his magnum opus (De l'esprit des lois), you might check this lighter material first, one that incorporates the basic tenets of his philosophy in a more entertaining format. Here's a quote that might feel familiar:
All the people of Europe are not equally subject to their princes: for instance, the impatient humour of the English seldom give their king time to make his power heavy. Passive obedience and non-resistance are no virtues in their esteem. They say upon this head very extraordinary things. According to them, there is but one tie that can bind men, which is that of gratitude: a husband, a wife, a father and son, are not bound to each other, but either by the love they bear to one another, or by mutual services: and these different motives of acknowledgment are the origin of every kingdom, and of all societies. But if a prince, very far from making his subjects live happy, endeavours to oppress and ruin them, the foundation of obedience ceases; nothing ties them, nothing attaches them to him, and they return to their natural liberty.
Letter CIV

3. At the time of its publication, The Persian Letters had a success comparable to Twilight and Harry Potter, spawning countless imitations. While it is not technically the first novel to be written entirely in epistolary form, it was the one that made the biggest splash. Some of the appeal may have been in the piquant details about life in a harem (quite tame by modern standards) or in trying to identify the local celebrities lampooned in the text. But I believe the major selling point was the outsider view, the contact of two civilizations that have evolved on parallel tracks : Persian and French. Given that today we see a lot of willful misunderstandings and distortions about the Muslim versus the Christian heritage, a lecture of the attitudes held by both the Frenchmen and the Orientals might show we were more tolerant three centuries ago.

4. Montesquieu is one of the founding members of the Enlightenment movement, a firm believer in progress, education, science, diversity, justice and the basic decency of humans in their natural state. The parable of the Troglodites in one of the first letters illustrate this point of the difference between a society built solely on greed and one built on respect, fairness, moral rectitude, hard work.

5. You can start a lively debate with direct appliance to the modern day from any of his letters on such diverse subjects as:
- world demographic evolution (Letter CXXX and onward),
- the distribution of wealth (Letter XCVIII),
- economic theory (Letter CVI)
- science as the new religion (Letter XCVII),
- creationism (Letter CXIII)
- religious tolerance (Letter LX)
- good governance (Letter LXXX)
- celibacy (Letter CXVII)
- the right to take your own life (didn't note the number of this letter)
- poligamy (Letter CXIV)
- divorce (Letter CXVI)
- modesty (Letter CXLIV)
- and so on ...

6. While Montesquieu doesn't take a clear stance on women liberation and the injustice of locking them in gilded cages, reading between the lines of the letters dealing directly with Uzbek and his five wifes, and considering the final outcome of trying to impose authority from a distance, using brute force, he could still be considered one of the first authors to speak up against genre discrimination.

Before I get to the numerous quotes I selected from the text, I should say a few words about why I didn't give the book the maximum rating, and why it may not work for anyone. The language, especially in the first 20 or 30 letters is archaic, chockfull of thee, thy, art, mayest, sayest, etc. I got used to it eventually and stopped noticing the dusty style about a third of the way in. And for readers who expect a plot, characterization, action: this is not it. Excluding the harem pieces, most of the book is in essays and satirical pieces.

First quote is about curiosity and a thirst for knowledge:
They who love to inform themselves, are never idle. Though I have no business of consequence to take care of, I am nevertheless continually employed. I spend my life in examining things: I write down in the evening whatever I have remarked, what I have seen, and what I have heard in the day: every thing engages my attention, and every thing excites my wonder: I am like an infant, whose organs, as yet tender, are strongly affected by the slightest objects.
Letter XLVIII

Next, one about the anti-intellectual attitude:
With regard to those who take pride in their ignorance, they would willingly have all mankind buried in that oblivion to which they are themselves consigned. When a man is destitute of any particular talent, he indemnifies himself, by expressing his contempt for it;
Letter CXLV

A plea for religious pluralism:
I know not, Mirza, but it may be good for a state, that there should be several religions in it. It is observable, that the members of the tolerated religions commonly make themselves more useful to their country, than those of the established religion; because, being excluded from all honours, they can only render themselves considerable by their opulence; they are led to acquire it by their industry, and to embrace the most toilsome employments in the society. Besides, as all religions contain precepts useful to society, it is good that they should be observed with zeal.
Letter LXXXV

Once more, for religious tolerance:
I acknowledge that history is full of religious wars; but we must take care to observe, it was not the multiplicity of religions that produced these wars, it was the intolerating spirit which animated that which thought she had the power of governing. It was the spirit of proselytism, which the Jews contracted from the Egyptians, and which from them hath passed, like an epidemic and popular disease, to Mahometans and Christians. It is, in short, the spirit of enthusiasm, the progress of which can be considered only as a total eclipse of human reason. [...] He who would have me change my religion, no doubt, desires me to do so, because he would not change his own if he was forced to it: he yet thinks it strange, that I will not do a thing which he himself would not do, perhaps, for the empire of the world.
Letter LXXXV

One quote that prefigurates the principles that lead to the United Nations:
It seems, Rhedi, there are two kinds of justice entirely different, one which regulates the affairs of private persons, which reigns in the civil law; another which regulates the differences that arise between people and people, which tyrannizes in the law of nations: as if the law of nations was not a civil law, not indeed of a particular country, but of the world. [...] The magistrates ought to administer justice between citizen and citizen, every nation ought to do the same between themselves and another nation. In this second distribution of justice, no other maxims ought to be employed but those in the first.
Letter XCV

How to put down a bigot :
When two persons who were present denied him any of his principles, he presently cried out it is certain, we have so determined it, and we are infallible judges. And how came you, said I to him then, to be infallible judges? Do not you perceive, replied he, that the holy spirit hath enlightened us? That is happy, returned I; for from the manner of your talking to-day I perceive you have great need to be enlightened.
Letter CI

On the legality of war:
There are but two kinds of just wars: one which is waged to repulse the attack of an enemy, the other to succour an ally who is attacked. It would not be justice to enter into a war upon the private quarrel of a prince; unless the case was so heinous as to merit the death of the prince or the people who committed it. Thus, a prince should not engage in a war because he hath been refused an honour which was his right, or for any unsuitable demeanor towards his ambassadors, and such similar cases; no more than a private person ought to kill him who refuses him precedency. The reason is this, as a declaration of war ought to be an act of justice, wherein the punishment should always be in proportion to the fault, it should be inquired whether the party against whom war is declared merits death. For to make war against any person, is to be willing to punish him with death. In the law of nations the severest act of justice is war, since the effect of it is the destruction of society.
Letter XCV

This is uncannily accurate about the progress of weapons of mass destruction:
Thou talkest much to me in one of thy letters, of the arts and sciences cultivated in the west. Thou wilt be ready to regard me as a barbarian: but I know not if the benefit derived from them hath made amends to mankind, for the bad use to which they are daily applied. I have heard say, that the single invention of bombs, hath destroyed the liberty of all the people of Europe. The princes being no longer willing to intrust the guard of towns to the citizens, who would surrender them at the first bomb, made that a pretext for keeping a large body of regular troops, with which they afterwards oppressed their subjects. Thou knowest, that since the invention of gun-powder, there is no place impregnable; that is to say, Usbek, that there is not any longer an assylum upon earth against injustice and violence. I always tremble, lest they should arrive at last at the discovery of some secret which may furnish them with a shorter way to destroy mankind, and to depopulate whole nations and whole kingdoms.
Letter CV

In a lighter mood, but again accurate regarding the fashion slaves:
The caprices of fashion among the French are astonishing; they have forgot how they were dressed in the summer: they are even more ignorant how they shall dress this winter: but, above all, it is not to be believed how much it costs a husband to put his wife in the fashion. What should I get by giving thee a full account of their dress and ornaments? A new fashion would destroy all my labour, as it does that of their works; and before thou hadst received my letter, the whole would be changed. A woman who quits Paris, to go and pass six months in the country, is as antiquated at her return, as if she had been forgotten thirty years.
Letter XCIX

On the distribution of wealth:
The propagation of mankind is vastly promoted by a mild government. All republics are certain proofs of this; and above all others, Swisserland and Holland, which are the two worst countries in Europe, if we consider the nature of their land, and which are nevertheless the best peopled. Nothing invites strangers more than liberty and wealth, which always follow the former: the first is searched after for its own sake; and we are led by our wants into the country where the latter is to be acquired. The species increase itself in a country where the plenty of it supports the children without diminishing the substance of their fathers. The equality of citizens, which commonly produces an equality in their fortunes, brings plenty and life into every part of the body politic, and extends them through the whole. In countries subject to an arbitrary power it is not the same: the prince, the courtiers, and some private persons, possess all the riches, whilst all the rest groan beneath extreme poverty.
Letter CXXII

I left for last my favorite, and sadly, it is a lesson we haven't learned yet:
There are but two kinds of just wars: one which is waged to repulse the attack of an enemy, the other to succour an ally who is attacked. It would not be justice to enter into a war upon the private quarrel of a prince; unless the case was so heinous as to merit the death of the prince or the people who committed it. Thus, a prince should not engage in a war because he hath been refused an honour which was his right, or for any unsuitable demeanor towards his ambassadors, and such similar cases; no more than a private person ought to kill him who refuses him precedency. The reason is this, as a declaration of war ought to be an act of justice, wherein the punishment should always be in proportion to the fault, it should be inquired whether the party against whom war is declared merits death. For to make war against any person, is to be willing to punish him with death. In the law of nations the severest act of justice is war, since the effect of it is the destruction of society.
Letter XCV


İran Mektupları read online



Read information about the author

Ebook İran Mektupları read Online! Charles-Louis de Secondat, baron de La Brède et de Montesquieu, generally referred to as simply Montesquieu, was a French social commentator and political thinker who lived during the Enlightenment. He is famous for his articulation of the theory of separation of powers, which is taken for granted in modern discussions of government and implemented in many constitutions throughout the world. He was largely responsible for the popularization of the terms "feudalism" and "Byzantine Empire."


Reviews of the İran Mektupları




İran Mektupları read online



Add a comment to İran Mektupları




Read EBOOK İran Mektupları by Montesquieu Online free

Download PDF: ran-mektuplar.pdf İran Mektupları PDF