The Philosopher as Critic and Public Activist Voltaire only began to identify himself with philosophy and the philosophe identity during middle age. His work Lettres philosophiques, published in when he was forty years old, was the key turning point in this transformation. His early orientation toward literature and libertine sociability, however, shaped his philosophical identity in crucial ways.
When his father found out, he sent Voltaire to study law, this time in CaenNormandy. But the young man continued to write, producing essays and historical studies.
Voltaire's wit made him popular among some of the aristocratic families with whom he mixed. From early on, Voltaire had trouble with the authorities for critiques of the government.
As a result, he was twice sentenced to prison and once to temporary exile to England. He campaigned to eradicate priestly and aristo-monarchical authority, and supported a constitutional monarchy that protects people's rights. Its origin is unclear. These come from associations with words such as voltige acrobatics on a trapeze or horsevolte-face a spinning about to face one's enemiesand volatile originally, any winged creature.
In a letter to Jean-Baptiste Rousseau in MarchVoltaire concludes by asking that, if Rousseau wishes to send him a return letter, he do so by addressing it to Monsieur de Voltaire. Voltaire is known also to have used at least separate pen names during his lifetime. It was a flop and only fragments of the text survive.
On the journey, he was accompanied by his mistress, Marie-Marguerite de Rupelmonde, a young widow. A publisher was eventually secured in The Hague. He was intrigued by Britain's constitutional monarchy in contrast to French absolutismand by the country's greater support of the freedoms of speech and religion.
Later, however, as Shakespeare's influence began growing in France, Voltaire tried to set a contrary example with his own plays, decrying what he considered Shakespeare's barbarities.
Voltaire may have been present at the funeral of Isaac Newton[a] and met Newton's niece, Catherine Conduitt. He was now indisputably rich. Again, a main source of inspiration for Voltaire were the years of his British exile, during which he had been strongly influenced by the works of Sir Isaac Newton.
Voltaire strongly believed in Newton's theories; he performed experiments in optics at Cirey,  and was one of the sources for the famous story of Newton and the apple falling from the tree, which he had learned from Newton's niece in London and first mentioned in his Letters.
While Voltaire remained a firm Newtonian, the Marquise adopted certain aspects of Leibniz's arguments against Newton. These, along with his Letters on the English mark the beginning of Voltaire's open criticism of intolerance and established religions.
Voltaire and the Marquise analyzed the Bible and concluded that much of its content was dubious. In AugustFrederick the Greatthen Crown Prince of Prussia and a great admirer of Voltaire, initiated a correspondence with him. On a visit to Paris that year, he found a new love—his niece.
At first, his attraction to Marie Louise Mignot was clearly sexual, as evidenced by his letters to her only discovered in Meanwhile, the Marquise also took a lover, the Marquis de Saint-Lambert. This greatly angered Frederick, who ordered all copies of the document burned.
The following morning, he was detained at the inn where he was staying by Frederick's agents, who held him in the city for over three weeks while they, Voltaire and Frederick argued by letter over the return of a satirical book of poetry Frederick had lent to Voltaire.
Marie Louise joined him on 9 June. She and her uncle only left Frankfurt in July after she had defended herself from the unwanted advances of one of Frederick's agents and Voltaire's luggage had been ransacked and valuable items taken. However, the correspondence between them continued, and though they never met in person again, after the Seven Years' War they largely reconciled.
This satire on Leibniz 's philosophy of optimistic determinism remains the work for which Voltaire is perhaps best known. He would stay in Ferney for most of the remaining 20 years of his life, frequently entertaining distinguished guests, such as James BoswellAdam SmithGiacomo Casanovaand Edward Gibbon.
His possessions were confiscated and his two daughters were taken from his widow and were forced into Catholic convents. Voltaire, seeing this as a clear case of religious persecution, managed to overturn the conviction in According to some sources, "Benjamin Franklin The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred.
His enemies related that he repented and accepted the last rites given by a Catholic priest, or that he died under great torment, while his adherents told how he was defiant to his last breath.
Guillaume de Syon argues: Voltaire recast historiography in both factual and analytical terms. Not only did he reject traditional biographies and accounts that claim the work of supernatural forces, but he went so far as to suggest that earlier historiography was rife with falsified evidence and required new investigations at the source.
Such an outlook was not unique in that the scientific spirit that 18th-century intellectuals perceived themselves as invested with.
A rationalistic approach was key to rewriting history. He broke from the tradition of narrating diplomatic and military events, and emphasized customs, social history and achievements in the arts and sciences.François-Marie Arouet (), known as Voltaire, was a writer, philosopher, poet, dramatist, historian and polemicist of the French Enlightenment.
The diversity of his literary output is rivalled only by its abundance: the edition of his complete works currently nearing completion will . François-Marie Arouet (), known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state.
Voltaire was born on November 21st, in Paris, France to Francois Arouet, a minor treasury official, and Marie Marguerite Daumand. He was the youngest of their three surviving children. Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet to a prosperous family on November 21, , in Paris, France.
He was the youngest of five children born to François Arouet and Marie Marguerite d'Aumart. François-Marie Arouet, better known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church and Christianity as a whole, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of speech, and separation of church and state..
Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost Parents: François Arouet. François-Marie Arouet (), known as Voltaire, was a writer, philosopher, poet, dramatist, historian and polemicist of the French Enlightenment. The diversity of his literary output is rivalled only by its abundance: the edition of his complete works currently nearing completion will .