Voltaire’s letters to Mme Denis (his sister’s daughter, Marie Louise Mignot) during his stay at the royal court of Frederick II of Prussia, as they appear in the Kehl and later editions, embody an unsparing critique of a ruler and his world. For more than two centuries, they were considered to be authentic, in spite of the discrepancies in tone or subject matter between these and letters written to other correspondents during the same period. In the last twenty years, research has established beyond doubt that Voltaire rewrote these letters during the winter of 1753–54 as a form of satirical revenge following his departure from Berlin, a project he refers to on a number of occasions in his correspondence with Mme Denis after his return. The discovery of this text, never intended for publication in the lifetime of the author, brings with it an unusual problem: the title. So far, in its relatively short public life, it has been referred to in different ways: as Lettres de M. de Voltaire à Madame Denis, de Berlin; as Lettres de Prusse à madame Denis, sa nièce ; and, most commonly, and perhaps most controversially of all, as Paméla.
"What's in a Name? Reflections on Voltaire's Paméla,"
2, Article 1.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.mcmaster.ca/ecf/vol18/iss2/1