25 April 2010
New Voltaire biography
The desire to be candid(e) requires me to report that none of the reviews of this book that I have thus far encountered leave me wanting to to buy or read the thing. Here are three examples:
Susan Elkin, in The Independent, makes it seem as if the book is about celebrity gossip -- with whom was Voltaire sleeping when.
Andrew Hussey, in the Financial Times, says that Ian Davidson "makes the point that much of Voltaire's massive literary output is now out-of-date when it is not simply tedious."
Sam Leith, in The Spectator, tells me that Davidson makes Voltaire seem like "a starlet perpetually leaving sex tapes out where the builders can find them."
I wish Davidson good luck with this book, but I personally will sit this one out.
Knowledge is warranted belief -- it is the body of belief that we build up because, while living in this world, we've developed good reasons for believing it. What we know, then, is what works -- and it is, necessarily, what has worked for us, each of us individually, as a first approximation. For my other blog, on the struggles for control in the corporate suites, see www.proxypartisans.blogspot.com.