François Fénelon (1651-1715) was a French theologian, writer, and Roman Catholic archbishop who is arguably one of the most neglected major philosophers of early modernity. His political masterwork was the most-read book in eighteenth-century France after the Bible, and yet only a small fraction of his influential writings have appeared in modern English translation. BC Political Science Professor Ryan Patrick Hanley’s new publication is the first book-length interpretative study of Fénelon’s writings to appear in English. Edited and translated by Hanley, Fénelon: Moral and Political Writings (Oxford University Press, 2020) includes Fénelon’s work on topics ranging from education to literature to religion and statecraft. With an extensive introduction to Fénelon’s life and work, this volume is a critical resource for students and scholars of French history and political philosophy. A companion volume to the translation is Hanley’s book, The Political Philosophy of Fénelon (Oxford University Press, 2020), which focuses on Fénelon’s political thought and its connections to fields such as economics, education, literature, theology, and spirituality. Hanley constructs a new understanding and appreciation of Fénelon, whose work has direct relevance to today’s political world.
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