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

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

https://doi.org/10.29333/pr/5879

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Abstract

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.

Keywords

François Fénelon, Voltaire, utopia, humanitarian awareness, philosophy, critical thinking

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Ioannou, A. X., & Malafantis, K. D. (2019). 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. Pedagogical Research, 4(4), em0042. https://doi.org/10.29333/pr/5879

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