"If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent him."
"In a well-organized country, the smaller number makes the greater number work for it, feed it and submit to its government."
Real name François Marie Arouet
. French dude, 1694-1778. Satirical philosopher
. He is best known for his witty defense of civil liberties, freedom of religion, and free trade (he had staunch liberal views on economic issues). His views earned him one year in the Bastille at the time of the Régence, where he gained his penname, but he would later make a huge fortune in military furnitures and gain great influence in the French and Prussian royal courts under Louis XV and Frederick II the Great. He would go on to inspire multiple philosophers and satirical authors, especially amongst those who supported his views. His writings also inspired both the French
revolutions. He was also an historian and a scientist who published multiple essays. Prolific, as he published more than 20,000 letters and 2,000 books and pamphlets. The name Voltaire comes from ''Arouet le jeune'' ("Arouet the Young"), converted to Latin script where U=V and J=I; AROVET L I -> VOLTAIRE
. He is eminently quotable
, and mis-quotable
. His ideological opponent
was Jean-Jacques Rousseau.
Probably shouldn't be confused with the musician
Stuff by Voltaire:
- Letters on the English, 1733, revised 1778
- Zadig, 1747
- Micromégas, 1752
- Candide, 1759,
- Treatise on Tolerance, 1763
- Ce qui plaît aux dames, 1764
- Philosophical Dictionary, 1764
- The Ingenue, 1767
This author's works provide examples of:
- An Aesop: In every single of his philosophical tales.
- Alien Invasion: Micromégas may be the Ur Example.
- Badass Bookworm: Candide and many other characters
- Crapsack World: In Candide, everywhere except Eldorado. In L'Ingénu, everywhere except in the main character's tribe.
- Deity of Human Origin: Provides the page quote.
- Double Standard: His beliefs on Judaism are very much this. He believed that Christians should be tolerant of other peoples and religions, but Voltaire himself hated Jews and once wrote that all of them should be punished. Ouch.
- He explicitly vowed to destroy Christianism (either Catholicism and Protestantism) in some of his correspondances with Jean le Rond D'Alembert, one of the authors of L'Encyclopédie, because he thought they were continuations of Judaism.
- Earn Your Happy Ending: Candide.
- Foreign Culture Fetish: He had a bit of a thing for the English, particularly their political institutions.
- Getting Crap Past the Radar: In Candide, "the sage Doctor Pangloss giv[es] a lecture in experimental philosophy to her mother's chambermaid". "[S]he perfectly well understood the force of the doctor's reasoning upon causes and effects".
- Romanticism Versus Enlightenment: Enlightenment, despite the cynicism.
- Skilled, but Naive: Candide and l'Ingénu both have names which means "naive". Indeed, they are skilled in many ways, especially books, but very ignorant towards the reality of their world.
- Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Rather cynicism, but with some idealist hints.