Voltaire Philosophical Dictionary

ISBN 13: 9780486472683

Philosophical Dictionary

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9780486472683: Philosophical Dictionary

A masterpiece of Enlightenment-era literature, this collection of brief, incisive essays constitutes a thought-provoking analysis of eighteenth-century social and religious conventions. Voltaire intended to entertain as well as to enlighten, and his sardonic wit lends a strikingly modern feeling to these writings.
One of France's most celebrated citizens, Voltaire (1694-1778) is best known for his satirical novel Candide. His political treatises, which frequently put him at odds with the church and state, have exercised enormous influence on political theorists, philosophers, educators, and historians. This compilation, first published in 1764, covers a broad range of topics. Organized alphabetically, its subjects range from adultery, atheism, bankruptcy, and common sense to religion, superstition, tolerance, and virtue. 

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A masterpiece of Enlightenment-era literature, this collection of brief essays constitutes a thought-provoking analysis of 18th-century social and religious conventions. Voltaire intended to entertain as well as to enlighten, and his sardonic wit lends a modern feeling to these writings on God, mortality, the church, freedom, justice, and other timeless concerns.

About the Author:

François-Marie Arouet, writing under the pseudonym Voltaire, was born in 1694 into a Parisian bourgeois family. Educated by Jesuits, he was an excellent pupil but one quickly enraged by dogma. An early rift with his father—who wished him to study law—led to his choice of letters as a career. Insinuating himself into court circles, he became notorious for lampoons on leading notables and was twice imprisoned in the Bastille.

By his mid-thirties his literary activities precipitated a four-year exile in England where he won the praise of Swift and Pope for his political tracts. His publication, three years later in France, of Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais (1733)—an attack on French Church and State—forced him to flee again. For twenty years Voltaire lived chiefly away from Paris. In this, his most prolific period, he wrote such satirical tales as “Zadig” (1747) and “Candide” (1759). His old age at Ferney, outside Geneva, was made bright by his adopted daughter, “Belle et Bonne,” and marked by his intercessions in behalf of victims of political injustice. Sharp-witted and lean in his white wig, impatient with all appropriate rituals, he died in Paris in 1778—the foremost French author of his day.

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