Memorable Quotations: Voltaire
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François Marie Arouet de Voltaire (1694-1778) was a French philosopher and writer; he was a prominent person of the Enlightenment. Twice unfairly imprisoned (1717-1718, 1726) and then expelled to England (1726-1729), he acquired a hatred of judicial unpredictability combined with an appreciation of English liberalism. Returning to France, he lived in Lorraine, with Mme Du Châtelet, who wielded a significant intellectual impact on him. Upon her death in 1749, he went to reside at the court of Prussia, but his relationship with Frederick II was volatile, and Voltaire left in 1753. He then settled on an estate near Geneva. His celebratory return to Paris in 1778 was too much for him, and he died shortly after. Voltaire's body of work is vast; and his authority, immense. His Letters concerning the English Nation (1733) started the trend for English philosophy and science that exemplified the French Enlightenment. The Philosophical Dictionary (1764) refined his political and religious preconceptions. He authored several tragedies, among them Brutus (1730) and Zaïre (1732). His remarkable historical works, The Age of Louis XIV (1751) and the Essay on Manners (1756), introduced a new approach, highlighting culture and commerce as much as politics and war. Most extensively read nowadays is his satirical masterpiece, Candide (1759).
Carol Dingle is a former English teacher, USO director, business owner, and world traveler.