Q:

What is Voltaire famous for?

A:

Voltaire, born François-Marie Arouet, was one of the most famous of French enlightenment thinkers or philosophers. As an author, Voltaire worked in a variety of different media, including novels, short stories, plays, essays, poetry and pamphlets. His most famous work is likely the scathing satire, "Candide," subtitled "Optimism."

Voltaire was born into a bourgeois family in 1694. By his early 20s, his writing was already scandalous enough to first earn him exile to Tulle in 1715 and then imprisonment in the Bastille by 1717. Voltaire was an outspoken opponent of radical religion and wrote extensively on the subject. His "Dictionnaire philosophique," in particular, was an encyclopedic work espousing enlightenment rationalism over the teachings of the Catholic church. Voltaire also opposed capital punishment and torture in an age when the exercise of each was commonplace.

Voltaire's philosophical writings often displayed his intense creativity and acerbic wit, along with an ability to analyze society and its entailing hypocrisies. His short story "Micromega," for example, not only assaults the philosophical, theological and scientific conceits of humankind but offers one of the very first science fiction stories involving travel in outer space. "Candide" also takes on questions of philosophy, depicting the frailties of positivist worldviews through the roaming of a hapless idiot-savant. In addition to his philosophical works, Voltaire also wrote poetry and dramas, the latter including a reworking of the classical Greek tragedy, "Oedipus."

Although Voltaire encountered persecution in his home country and then exile abroad in England, he eventually made his way home, dying in his sleep in Paris in 1778, about a decade before the onset of the French Revolution, a struggle in which many idealists and thinkers would frequently invoke his thought.


Is this answer helpful?

Similar Questions

  • Q:

    Why was Voltaire important?

    A:

    Voltaire, along with Locke and Rousseau, was a prominent figure during the period of Enlightenment; he wrote numerous literary works, including plays, history and philosophy, and spoke out against issues including religious freedom, free trade and civil liberties. Voltaire was born in Paris, France, in 1694. He was given the name of Francois-Marie Arouet at birth but adopted the name of Voltaire as his literary career progressed.

      Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How do I describe the Battle of the Cowshed?

    A:

    A good way to describe the Battle of the Cowshed from "Animal Farm" is that it was the animals' final required act to take over the farm from Mr. Jones. Although some of the animals were killed or wounded, the majority survived. The battle also led to the establishment of a hierarchy and allowed Napoleon to further exercise power over the other animals.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    What is George's first complaint to Lennie in "Of Mice and Men"?

    A:

    In Chapter 1 of the John Steinbeck novel "Of Mice and Men," George Milton complains to Lennie Small about the predicaments they encounter when Lennie acts on his desire to pet soft things. This complaint occurs when George takes away the dead mouse Lennie has been keeping in his pocket.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:
  • Q:

    How did Sir Arthur Conan Doyle use the skills of Sherlock Holmes to correct a miscarriage of justice in real life?

    A:

    Sir Arthur Conan Doyle used the same analytical skills he imparted to his iconic character to clear an innocent man's name in 1906. The case was chronicled heavily in The Telegraph and set a precedent that later prevented numerous miscarriages of justice.

    Full Answer >
    Filed Under:

Explore