The Contribution of the Literary Works of François Fénelon ‘The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Ulysses’ and of Voltaire ‘Candide’, to the Cultivation of Humanitarian Awareness
Aikaterini X. Ioannou 1 * , Konstantinos D. Malafantis 2
More Detail
1 Philologist, MSc in Applied Pedagogy, National and Kapodistrian University of Athens, Faculty of Primary Education, School of Education, GREECE2 Professor of Education and Literature, President of the Hellenic Educational Society, Director of Postgraduate Programme “Reading, Love of Reading, and Educational Material”, Director of the Laboratory of Educational Applications and Production of Educational Material, Faculty of Primary Education, School of Education, GREECE* Corresponding Author


Fénelon and Voltaire, the two French philosophers and pedagogues, influenced a wide range of people in the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. The philosophers who followed were inspired by their work which contained ideological hints and promoted humanitarian awareness. We followed the historical analysis method, we intend to present through Fénelon’s ‘The Adventures of Telemachus, Son of Ulysses’ and Voltaire’s ‘Candide’ how these literary works act as a dynamic change agent in order to promote peaceful attitude, develop empathy, foster tolerance for diversity, cultivate morality, but also motivate young people. Fénelon promotes his views on political wisdom and denounces the greed for wealth and the expansionist wars. Voltaire parodies optimism and criticizes war. The ideological background of the two men is completely opposite; Fénelon is religious and his work is based on his faith, whereas Voltaire struggles against Church. Nevertheless, they both denounce the atrocities committed during war, the vanity of wealth, whilst they both use a utopia to describe the ideal society. In this paper, we will discuss similarities and differences between these two books, the way their writers approach the factors that lead to human suffering, their proposals on anthropocentric policy which should be followed by “kings” for the avoidance of war and the support for peace and justice, the way they encourage their readers to behave and live their lives, because they are themes which strike the modern reader too. The study of these books helps people cultivate critical thinking, get knowledge which leads to wisdom and derive from them social, philosophical, religious, political and pedagogical elements in order to foster solidarity.


This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

PEDAGOGICAL RES, 2019, Volume 4, Issue 4, Article No: em0042

Publication date: 19 Aug 2019

Article Views: 2373

Article Downloads: 1351

Open Access HTML Content References How to cite this article