Chapter

Discourse on Happiness

in Selected Philosophical and Scientific Writings

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print September 2009 | ISBN: 9780226168067
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226168081 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226168081.003.0008
Discourse on Happiness

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This chapter presents the complete Discourse on Happiness, the first of Marquise Du Châtelet's writings to receive a critical edition and to be issued as a paperback. Du Châtelet must have written the essay in stages, from the end of the 1730s when she and Voltaire were at Cirey into the 1740s when she was an active courtier at Louis XV's Versailles, and then at King Stanislas's Lunéville. She probably put it down as other projects took precedence, and finished it in the spring of 1748 as a gift for her new lover, Jean-François de Saint-Lambert. To write an essay on happiness was a common amusement for men of the Republic of Letters, but there are a number of ways in which Du Châtelet's differs from others of its type. In particular, she made her essay more personal and more daring than those of male authors. The chapter also includes Du Châtelet's letters to Saint-Lambert and to Abbé Claude Sallier, the official of the Royal Library in Paris.

Keywords: Discourse on Happiness; Marquise Du Châtelet; happiness; Voltaire; letters; Saint-Lambert; Abbé Claude Sallier

Chapter.  10672 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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