Voltaire's Tormented Soul
A Psychobiographic Inquiry
Voltaire's extraordinary mind and pivotal role in the Age of Enlightenment induced writers of over two-and-a-half centuries to analyze his works and ponder confounding inconsistencies, bound in both his behavior and his writings. Why have numerous biographies and countless literary essays on this... read more historic figure failed to uncover the root cause of the perplexing contradictions? The answer, as elucidated in this volume, lies in the elaborate characterologic superstructure he had constructed (subconsciously) to shield his mind from intolerable memories and feelings associated with emotional trauma sustained in childhood and adolescence. A desperate effort to flee from his inner self was on some occasions openly confessed by the poet.The self-protective, self-sustaining character mechanisms (described in the fourteen chapters) became, then, a blinding and misleading obstacle to the untutored observer in search of the real Voltaire. In penetrating the overt, social-behavioral layer, psycho biographic research was greatly assisted by spontaneous and effusive expression of concerns, frustrations, anxieties, etc., abundant in the poet's voluminous correspondence, and also by conspicuous omissions, distortions, and rationalizations in his Memoirs. Methods of depth psychology, as applied for interpreting the material, are described and illustrated.
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