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Le marquis de Langle : De Teneriffe a Dessau, obscurantisme et Lumierès

François Labbé

Pages 343 - 351

Following the great success of his ‚Voyage de Figaro en Espagne‘ (1784/1785), Sebastien Jerome Charlemagne de Langle (1752–1807) published a small book in 1786. It is made up of two parts: one is the ‚Voyage de Figaro, à l’isle de Teneriffe‘, the other one is an extract of a letter – the letter of M. de L*** about the Court of Dessau. The combination of Tenerife and Dessau in the same book is somewhat surprising and makes one wonder why this amalgamation was made. Did the ever-impecunious pseudo-Marquis de Langle try to use his fame to take advantage of a new “Figaro?” This seems unlikely: The small book never saw a second publication, French journals hardly mention it. It rather seems that the author wanted to make a philosophical statement. The description of Tenerife, lingering in the darkness of superstition, poverty, and despotism of State and Church is, by simple juxtaposition, put in opposition to the principality of Dessau, governed by an enlightened prince, where the people and those who govern them live in perfect harmony in a beautiful, modern environment.


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