The Philosophical Letters or Letters on the English (French: Lettres philosophiques) is a 1733 work by Voltaire, revised in 1778, composed as a series of letters reflecting on his sojourn in England from 1726 to 1728.
Voltaire's thoughts on English literature include a number of leading writers of the day who he met while in London, such as Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. His account of English political and religious institutions, Newtonian science, and the empiricism of Bacon and Locke, quickly became a formative influence on continental liberalism.
Free online texts
Gutenberg: Letters on England. EPUB, HTML, MOBI and TXT formats.
Internet Archive: French and English Philosophers, Descartes, Voltaire, Rousseau, Hobbes (includes Letters on England). Harvard Classics Vol. 34. EPUB, MOBI, PDF and TXT formats.
Internet History Sourcebooks: Letters on the English or Lettres Philosophiques. HTML format.
Liberty Fund: The Works of Voltaire, Vol. XIX (Philosophical Letters). EPUB, HTML, MOBI and PDF formats.
Wikisource: Letters Concerning the English Nation. English translation. HTML and other formats.
Wikisource: Lettres Philosophiques. HTML and other formats.
Bloom's Western Canon: Letters on England is listed.
Locke: Essay on Human Understanding
Samuel Butler: Hudibras.
Alexander Pope: The Rape of the Lock and Essay on Criticism.
Montesquieu: The Spirit of the Laws - another French Enlightenment work influenced by English institutions.
Jonathan Swift: Gullivers' Travels - Voltaire met Swift while in England.
Addison and Steele: The Spectator - another work Voltaire read in England.
Alexis De Tocqueville: Democracy in America - a later work with which the Philosophical Letters are often compared.
French Language resources