History of Charles XII

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VOLTAIRE History of Charles XII Voltaire's "History of Charles XII." was his earliest notable essay in history, written during his sojourn in England in 1726-9, when he was acquiring the materials for his "Letters on the English," eleven years after the death of the Swedish monarch. The prince who "left a name at which the world grew pale, to point a moral and adorn a tale," was killed by a cannon-ball when thirty-six years old, after a career extraordinarily brilliant, extraordinarily disastrous, and in result extraordinarily ineffective. A tremendous contrast to the career, equally unique, of his great antagonist, Peter the Great of Russia, whose history Voltaire wrote thirty years later (seeante). Naturally the two works in a marked degree illustrate each other. In both cases Voltaire claims to have had first-hand information from the principal actors in the drama.
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May 1, 2013
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