Voltaire left Paris on the 15th of June 1751, and reached Berlin on the 10th of July.
In France the new school found powerful speaking-trumpets, especially Voltaire, the idol of his age - a great denier and scoffer, but always sincerely a believer in the God of reason - and the deeper but wilder spirit of J.
Ever after his exit from the Bastille in April 1718 he was known as Arouet de Voltaire, or simply Voltaire, though legally he never abandoned his patronymic. The origin of the famous name has been much debated, and attempts have been made to show that it actually existed in the Daumart pedigree or in some territorial designation.
At the age of fourteen he found his way to Berlin, where Frederick the Great, inspired by the spirit of Voltaire, held the maxim that " to oppress the Jews never brought prosperity to any government."
He has often been called the Voltaire of the East, and cried down as materialist and atheist.
In 1757 Voltaire came to reside at Lausanne; and although he took but little notice of the young Englishman of twenty, who eagerly sought and easily obtained an introduction, the establishment of the theatre at Monrepos, where the brilliant versifier himself declaimed before select audiences his own productions on the stage, had no small influence in fortifying Gibbon's taste for the French theatre, and in at the same time abating that "idolatry for the gigantic genius of Shakespeare which is inculcated from our infancy as the first duty of an Englishman."
Comparetti's Edipo and Jebb's introduction for the Oedipus of Dryden, Corneille and Voltaire; A.
in 1607, but the château in which the duke of Arenberg of the 18th century entertained Voltaire no longer exists.
She was to a considerable extent selftaught; and her love of reading made her acquainted first with Plutarch - a passion for which author she continued to cherish throughout her life - thereafter with Bossuet, Massillon, and authors of a like stamp, and finally with Montesquieu, Voltaire and Rousseau.
From 1760 owing to the gradual spread of the sceptical spirit and the teaching of Voltaire more tolerant views prevailed.
The first work was dedicated to Voltaire, and was received by the old philosophe with much favour.
In the Beaux-Arts, Batteux developed a theory which is derived from Locke through Voltaire's sceptical sensualism.
of Gex, is famous as the residence of Voltaire from 17 58-1778.
After the death of Voltaire (1778), whose friend and correspondent he had been for more than thirty years, he was regarded as the leader of the philosophical party in the Academy.
The fullest revelation of his religious convictions is given in his correspondence with Voltaire, which was published along with that with Frederick the Great in Bossange's edition of his works.
2 Voltaire was at Geneva, Rousseau at Montmorency, and Buffon he neglected to visit; but so congenial did he find the society for which his education had so well prepared him, and into which some literary reputation had already preceded him, that he declared, " Had I been rich and independent, I should have prolonged and perhaps have fixed my residence at Paris."
He has recorded one or two interesting notes on Turin, Genoa, Florence and other towns at which halt was made on his route; but Rome was the great object of his pilgrimage, and the words in which he has alluded to the feelings with which he Her letters to Walpole about Gibbon contain some interesting remarks by this ' ` aveugle clairvoyante," as Voltaire calls her; but they belong to a later period (1777).
In 1754 he was a member of the chambre royale which sat during an exile of the parlement; in 1755 and 1756 he accompanied Gournay, then intendant of commerce, in his tours of inspection in the provinces, and in 1760, while travelling in the east of France and Switzerland, visited Voltaire, who became one of his chief friends and supporters.
Voltaire described him as "the only Jesuit who has given a reasonable system of philosophy."
He read much of the pamphlet literature then flooding the country, but he still preferred the, more general studies in history and literature, Plutarch, Caesar, Corneille, Voltaire and Rousseau being his favourite author:.
Voltaire said that his sermons surpassed those of Bossuet (whose retirement in 1669, however, practically coincided with Bourdaloue's early pulpit utterances); and there is little doubt that their simplicity and coherence, and the direct appeal which they made to hearers of all classes, gave them a superiority over the more profound sermons of Bossuet.
Voltaire (Dictionnaire Philosoplzique, " Quaker," " Toleration ") described the body, which attracted his curiosity, his sympathy and his sneers, with all his brilliance.
She was well versed in mathematics, which she studied at the university of Moscow, and in general literature her favourite authors were Bayle, Montesquieu, Boileau, Voltaire and Helvetius.
In Paris she secured the warm friendship and admiration of Diderot and Voltaire.
Voltaire published his Le Cafe, ou l'Ecossaise (1760), Londres (really Geneva), as a translation from the work of Mr Hume, described as Pasteur de l'eglise d'Edimbourg, but Home seems to have taken no notice of the mystification.
His attack upon Voltaire's Philosophie de l'historie (published under the name of l'Abbe Bazin) created considerable interest at the time.
Holberg was not only the founder of Danish literature and the greatest of Danish authors, but he was, with the exception of Voltaire, the first writer in Europe during his own generation.
His fame was not confined to his own country, for it is said that Voltaire, when challenged to produce a character as perfect as that of Christ, at once mentioned Fletcher of Madeley.
His opera of Thetis et Pelee, 1689, though highly praised by Voltaire, cannot be said to rise much above the others; and it may be regarded as significant that of all his dramatic works not one has kept the stage.
Fontenelle forms a link between two very widely different periods of French literature, that of Corneille, Racine and Boileau on the one hand, and that of Voltaire, D'Alembert and Diderot on the other.
FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET DE VOLTAIRE (1694-1778), French philosopher, historian, dramatist and man of letters, whose real name was Francois Marie Arouet simply, was born on the 21st of November 1694 at Paris, and was baptized the next day.
The family appear to have always belonged to the yeoman-tradesman class; their special home was the town of Saint-Loup. Voltaire was the fifth child of his parents - twin boys (of whom one survived), a girl, Marguerite Catherine, and another boy who died young, having preceded him.
Nor can there be much doubt that the great attention bestowed on acting - the Jesuits kept up the Renaissance practice of turning schools into theatres for the performance of plays both in Latin and in the vernacular - had much to do with Voltaire's lifelong devotion to the stage.
For a time Voltaire submitted, and read law at least nominally.
It does not appear that Voltaire got into any great scrapes; but his father tried to break him off from such society by sending him first to Caen and then, in the suite of the marquis de Chateauneuf, the abbe's brother, to the Hague.
The mother discouraged the affair, and, though Voltaire tried to avail himself of the mania for proselytizing which then distinguished France, his father stopped any idea of a match by procuring a lelire de cachet, which, however, he did not use.
Voltaire, who had been sent home, submitted, and for a time pretended to work in a Parisian lawyer's office; but he again manifested a faculty for getting into trouble - this time in the still more dangerous way of writing libellous poems - so that his father was glad to send him to stay for nearly a year (1714-15) with Louis de Caumartin, marquis de Saint-Ange, in the country.
With these gains Voltaire seems to have begun his long series of successful financial speculations.
It was a failure, and though it was recast with some success Voltaire never published it as a whole, and used parts of it in other work.
The regent had died shortly before, not to Voltaire's advantage; for he had been a generous patron.
Voltaire had made, however, a useful friend in another grand seigneur, as profligate and nearly as intelligent, the duke of Richelieu, and with him he passed 1724 and the next year chiefly, recasting Mariamne (which was now successful), writing the comedy of L'Indiscret, and courting the queen, the ministers, the favourites and everybody who seemed worth.
Nobody would take his part, and at last, nearly three months after the outrage, he challenged Rohan, who accepted the challenge, but on the morning appointed for the duel Voltaire was arrested and sent for the second time to the Bastille.
Voltaire revenged himself on the duke of Sully for his conduct towards his guest by cutting Maximilien de Bethune's name out of the Henriade.
No competent judges have ever mistaken the importance of Voltaire's visit to England, and the influence it exercised on his future career.
Before the English visit Voltaire had been an elegant trifler, an adept in the forms of literature popular in French society, a sort of superior Dorat or Boufflers of earlier growth.
With both he took all imaginable pains to avoid offending the censorship; for Voltaire had, more than any other man who ever lived, the ability and the willingness to stoop to conquer.
When she first became intimate with Voltaire she was practically separated from her husband, though he occasionally visited Cirey.
She is only important from her connexion with Voltaire, though an attempt has been made to treat her as an original thinker; see F.
Voltaire's education, the Cirey residence may be justly said to be the first stage of his literary manhood.
It was not till the summer of 1734 that Cirey, a half-dismantled country house on the borders of Champagne and Lorraine, was fitted up with Voltaire's money and became the headquarters of himself, of his hostess, and now and then of her accommodating husband.
It was not entirely a bed of roses, for the "respectable Emily's" temper was violent, and after a time she sought lovers who were not so much des cerebraux as Voltaire.
But, as usual, Voltaire's extraordinary literary industry was shown rather in a vast amount of fugitive writings than in substantive works, though for the whole space of his Cirey residence he was engaged in writing, adding to, and altering the Pucelle.
Of metaphysics proper Voltaire neither then nor at any other time understood anything, and the subject, like every other, merely served him as a pretext for laughing at religion with the usual reservation of a tolerably affirmative deism.
The best-known accounts of Cirey life, those of Madame de Grafigny, date from the winter of 1738-39; they are somewhat spiteful but very amusing, depicting the frequent quarrels between Madame du Chatelet and Voltaire, his intense suffering under criticism, his constant dread of the surreptitious publication of the Pucelle (which nevertheless he could not keep his hands from writing or his tongue from reciting to his visitors), and so forth.
The chief and most galling of his critics at this time was the Abbe Desfontaines, and the chief of Desfontaines's attacks was entitled La Voltairomanie, in reply to a libel of Voltaire's called Le Preservatif.
Both combatants had, according to the absurd habit of the time, to disown their works, Desfontaines's disavowal being formal and procured by the exertion of all Voltaire's own influence both at home and abroad.
Frederick, now king of Prussia, made not a few efforts to get Voltaire away from Madame du Chatelet, but unsuccessfully, and the king earned the lady's cordial hatred by persistently refusing or omitting to invite her.
Brussels was again the headquarters in 1741, by which time Voltaire had finished the best and the second X XVIII.
The situation itself and its accompanying privileges were what Voltaire chiefly aimed at, but there was a salary of two thousand livres attached, and he had the year before come in for three times as much by the death of his brother.
The death of Madame du Chatelet is another turning-point in the history of Voltaire.
He engaged in a foolish and undignified struggle with Crebillon (not fils), a rival set up against him by Madame de Pompadour, but a dramatist who, in part of one play, Rhadamiste et Zenobie, has struck a note of tragedy in the grand Cornelian strain, which Voltaire could never hope to echo.
Both were unjust to Voltaire, and Macaulay was unjust to Frederick as well.
He pressed him to remain; he gave him (the words are Voltaire's own) one of his orders, twenty thousand francs a year, and four thousand additional for his niece, Madame Denis, in case she would come and keep house for her uncle.
But Voltaire's conduct was from the first Voltairian.
But Frenchmen, always touchy on such a point, regarded Voltaire as something of a deserter; and it was not long before he bitterly repented his desertion, though his residence in Prussia lasted nearly three years.
It was quite impossible that Voltaire and Frederick should get on together for long.
Voltaire was not humble enough to be a mere butt, as many of Frederick's led poets were; he was not enough of a gentleman to hold his own place with dignity and discretion; he was constantly jealous both of his equals in age and reputation, such as Maupertuis, and of his juniors and inferiors, such as Baculard D'Arnaud.
Frederick, though his love of teasing for teasing's sake has been exaggerated by Macaulay, was a martinet of the first water, had a sharp though one-sided idea of justice, and had not the slightest intention of allowing Voltaire to insult or to tyrannize over his other guests and servants.
If he is to be blamed in this particular matter, the blame must be chiefly confined to his imprudence in inviting Voltaire at the beginning and to the brutality of his conduct at the end.
Within Voltaire there was always a mischievous and ill-behaved child; and he was never more mischievous, more ill-behaved and more childish than in these years.
The king's disgust at this affair (which came to an open scandal before the tribunals) was so great that he was on the point of ordering Voltaire out of Prussia, and Darget the secretary had no small trouble in arranging the matter (February 1751).
Then it was Voltaire's turn to be disgusted with an occupation he had undertaken himself - the occupation of "buckwashing" the king's French verses.
But Voltaire's restless temper was brewing up for another storm.
In the early autumn of 1751 La Mettrie, one of the king's parasites, and a man of much more talent than is generally allowed, horrified Voltaire by telling him that Frederick had in conversation applied to him (Voltaire) a proverb about "sucking the orange and flinging away its skin," and about the same time the dispute with Maupertuis, which had more than anything else to do with his exclusion from Prussia, came to a head.
The king took his president's part; Voltaire took Kiinig's.
Even Voltaire did not venture to publish this lampoon on a great official of a prince so touchy as the king of Prussia without some permission, and if all tales are true he obtained this by another piece of something like forgery - getting the king to endorse a totally different pamphlet on its last leaf, and affixing that last leaf to Akakia.
Frederick did not like disobedience, but he still less liked being made a fool of, and he put Voltaire under arrest.
Voltaire had sent copies away; others had been printed abroad; and the thing was irrecoverable.
One day Voltaire sent his orders, &c., back; the next Frederick returned them, but Voltaire had quite made up his mind to fly.
A kind of reconciliation occurred in March, and after some days of good-fellowship Voltaire at last obtained the long-sought leave of absence and left Potsdam on the 26th of the month (1753).
From Leipzig, after a month's stay, Voltaire moved to Gotha.
An excuse was provided in the fact that the poet had a copy of some unpublished poems of Frederick's, and as soon as Voltaire arrived hands were laid on him, at first with courtesy enough.
The resident, Freytag, was not a very wise person (though he probably did not, as Voltaire would have it, spell "poesie" "poeshie"); constant references to Frederick were necessary; and the affair was prolonged so that Madame Denis had time to join her uncle.
At last Voltaire tried to steal away.
Voltaire left Frankfort on the 7th of July, travelled safely to Mainz, and thence to Mannheim, Strassburg and Colmar.
Voltaire's second stage was now over.
Nor did an extremely offensive performance of Voltaire's - the solemn partaking of the Eucharist at Colmar after due confession - at all mollify his enemies.
Voltaire had no purpose of remaining in the city, and almost immediately bought a country house just outside the gates, to which he gave the name of Les Daces.
The earthquake at Lisbon, which appalled other people, gave Voltaire an excellent opportunity for ridiculing the beliefs of the orthodox, first in verse (1756) and later in the (from a literary point of view) unsurpassable tale of Candide (1759).
Voltaire had infringed this law already as far as private performances went, and he had thought of building a regular theatre, not indeed at Geneva but at Lausanne.
Voltaire obeyed this hint as far as Les Delices was concerned, and consoled himself by having the performances in his Lausanne house.
How he built a church and got into trouble in so doing at Ferney, how he put "Deo erexit Voltaire" on it (1760-61) and obtained a relic from the pope for his new building, how he entertained a grand-niece of Corneille, and for her benefit wrote his well-known "commentary" on that poet, are matters of interest, but to be passed over briefly.
In this way Voltaire, who had been an old man when he established himself at Ferney, became a very old one almost without noticing it.
A much more solid gain to his happiness was the adoption, or practical adoption, in 1776 of Reine Philiberte de Varicourt, a young girl of noble but poor family, whom Voltaire rescued from the convent, installed in his house as an adopted daughter, and married to the marquis de Villette.
It is doubtful whether his last and fatal visit to Paris was due to his own wish or to the instigation of his niece, Madame Denis; but this lady - a woman of disagreeable temper, especially to her inferiors - appears to have been rather hardly treated by Voltaire's earlier, and sometimes by his later, biographers.
In person Voltaire was not engaging, even as a young man.
Voltaire's works, and especially his private letters, constantly contain the word "l'infame" and the expression (in full or abbreviated) "ecrasez l'infame."
This has been misunderstood in many ways - the mistake going so far as in some cases to suppose that Voltaire meant Christ by this opprobrious expression.
Its briefest equivalent may be given as "persecuting and privileged orthodoxy" in general, and, more particularly, it is the particular system which Voltaire saw around him, of which he had felt the effects in his own exiles and the confiscations of his books, and of which he saw the still worse effects in the hideous sufferings of Calas and La Barre.
Vast and various as the work of Voltaire is, its vastness and variety are of the essence of its writer's peculiar quality.
It is at first sight remarkable that Voltaire, whose comic power was undoubtedly far in excess of his tragic, should have written many tragedies of no small excellence in their way, but only one fair second-class comedy, Nanine.
Although Voltaire had neither the perfect versification of Racine nor the noble poetry of Corneille, he surpassed the latter certainly, and the former in the opinion of some not incompetent judges, in playing the difficult and artificial game of the French tragedy.
Voltaire knew that the public opinion of his time reserved its highest prizes for a capable and successful dramatist, and he was determined to win thcse prizes.
The third division of Voltaire's works in a rational order consists of his prose romances or tales.
It is in these works more than in any others that the peculiar quality of Voltaire - ironic style without exaggeration - appears.
Voltaire never dwells too long on this point, stays to laugh at what he has said, elucidates or comments on his own jokes, guffaws over them or exaggerates their form.
The fourth division of Voltaire's work, the historical, is the bulkiest of all except his correspondence, and some parts of it are or have been among t1' most read, but it is far from being even among the best.
To his own age Voltaire was pre-eminently a poet and a philosopher; the unkindness of succeeding ages has sometimes questioned whether he had any title to either name, and especially to the latter.
No one of Voltaire's works shows his antireligious or at least anti-ecclesiastical animus more strongly.
The book ranks perhaps second only to the novels as showing the character, literary and personal, of Voltaire; and despite its form it is nearly as readable.
In general criticism and miscellaneous writing Voltaire is not inferior to himself in any of his other functions.
Nowhere, perhaps, except when he is dealing with religion, are Voltaire's defects felt more than here.
In this great mass Voltaire's personality is of course best shown, and perhaps his literary qualities not worst.
Most judgments:of Voltaire have been unduly coloured by sympathy with or dislike of what may be briefly called his polemical side.
Not the most elaborate work of Voltaire is of much value for matter; but not the very slightest work of Voltaire is devoid of value in form.
The bibliography of Voltaire is a very large subject, and it has been the special occupation of a Rumanian diplomatist of much erudition and judgment, Georges Bengesco, Bibliographic de Voltaire (4 vols., Paris, 1882-90).
Especially may be noticed the so-called edition of Kehl, in which Voltaire himself, and later Beaumarchais, were concerned (70 vols., 1785-89); those of Dalibon and Baudouin, each in 97 volumes (from which "the hundred volumes of Voltaire" have become a not infrequent figure of speech); and the excellent edition of Beuchot (1829) in 72 volumes.
Editions of separate or .selected works are innumerable, and so are books upon Voltaire.
Desnoiresterres, Voltaire et la sociite francaise, 1867 and others) excellent.
Francis Espinasse's Voltaire (1882), which contains a useful bibliography, J.
Churton Collins's Voltaire in England (1886), and J.
Lounsbury's Shakespeare and Voltaire (1902) may also be specified.
Linguet received the support of Marie Antoinette; his fame at the time surpassed that of his rival Beaumarchais, and almost excelled that of Voltaire.
Comte threw himself into the suit with an energy worthy of Voltaire and won it.
In the Observations sur les ecrits modernes (1735-1743) Desfontaines held the gates of Philistia for eight years against the Encyclopaedists, and even the redoubtable Voltaire himself.
The name of Freron, perhaps the most vigorous enemy Voltaire ever encountered, was long connected with Lettres sur quelques ecrits de ce temps (1749-1754), followed by L'Annee litteraire (1754-1790).
He had allowed himself to be reconciled with Napoleon's government, and Cyrus, represented in 1804, was written in his honour, but he was temporarily disgraced in 1806 for his Epitre a Voltaire.
He bought and resided at the estate of La Source near Orleans, studied philosophy, criticized the chronology of the Bible, and was visited amongst others by Voltaire, who expressed unbounded admiration for his learning and politeness.
indeed derived their political ideas from The Patriot King, but the influence which he is said to have exercised upon Voltaire, Gibbon and Burke is very problematical.
The distracted widow, however, found some friends, and among them Voltaire, who laid her case before the council of state at Versailles.
See Causes celebres, tome iv.; Raoul Allier, Voltaire et Calas, une erreur judiciaire au X VIII e siecle (Paris, 1898); and biographies of Voltaire.
Hermann Hettner says that not only Leibnitz, Voltaire and Diderot, but Lessing, Mendelssohn, Wieland and Herder, drew the most stimulating nutriment from Shaftesbury.
Mention may also be made of Voltaire, Siecle de Louis XIV.; P. Clement, Histoire de la vie et de l'administration de Colbert; Sainte-Beuve, Causeries de lundi.
" Franklin's reputation," wrote John Adams with characteristic extravagance, " was more universal than that of Leibnitz or Newton, Frederick or Voltaire; and his character more esteemed and beloved than all of them..
He sold his share in the property in 1776 for £35,000, and took leave of the stage by playing a round of his favourite characters - Hamlet, Lear, Richard and Benedick, among Shakespearian parts; Lusignan in Zara, Aaron Hill's adaptation of Voltaire's Zaire; and Kitely in his own adaptation of Ben Jonson's Archer in Farquhar's Beaux' Stratagem; Abel Drugger in Ben Jonson's Alchemist; Sir John Brute in Vanbrugh's Provoked Wife; Leon in Fletcher's Rule a Wife and have a Wife.
After a visit to his uncle, the archbishop of Reims, he returned to St Sulpice to finish his preliminary training for the church, but in his spare time he read the works of Montesquieu, Voltaire, and other writers who were beginning to undermine the authority of the ancien regime, both in church and state.
Voltaire himself, speaking as a practical man rather than as a metaphysician, declared that if there were no God it would be necessary to invent one; and if the analysis is only carried far enough it will be found that those who deny the existence of God (in a conventional sense) are all the time setting up something in the nature of deity by way of an ideal of their own, while fighting over the meaning of a word or its conventional misapplication.
This was at once an attack on Voltaire, who was giving theatrical representations at Les Delices, on D'Alembert, who had condemned the prejudice against the stage in the Encyclopedic, and on one of the favourite amusements of the society of the day.
Voltaire's strong point was not forgiveness, and, though Rousseau no doubt exaggerated the efforts of his "enemies," he was certainly henceforward as obnoxious to the philosophe coterie as to the orthodox party.
Freron on the orthodox side had his share of it, as well as Voltaire, Helvetius, Diderot and Montesquieu on that of the innovators.
But Rousseau had not, like Montesquieu, a position which guaranteed him from serious danger; he was not wealthy like Helvetius; he had not the wonderful suppleness and trickiness which even without his wealth would probably have defended Voltaire himself; and he lacked entirely the "bottom" of Freron and Diderot.
Erasmus has been called the "Voltaire of the Renaissance."
Voltaire, though he did not originate, yet adopted a moral and religious scheme which he sought to substitute for the church tradition.
He was not an anticipation of the 18th century; he was the man of his age, as Voltaire of his; though Erasmus did not intend it, he undoubtedly shook the ecclesiastical edifice in all its parts; and, as Melchior Adam says of him, "pontifici Romano plus nocuit jocando quam Lutherus stomachando."
Krasicki's poem is at best but a dull affair, in fact a pale copy of a poor original, the Henriade of Voltaire.
The Jesuits, on the other hand, claimed Corneille and Moliere, as well as Descartes and Bossuet, Fontenelle, Montesquieu and Voltaire.
The island was variously identified with America, Scandinavia, the Canaries and even Palestine; ethnologists saw in its inhabitants the ancestors of the Guanchos, the Basques or the ancient Italians; and even in the 17th and 18th centuries the credibility of the whole legend was seriously debated, and sometimes admitted, even by Montaigne, Buffon and Voltaire.
entitled Souvenirs; these were edited by Voltaire (1770), and by many later editors, notably Renouard (1806), Ch.
Here he studied Bayle and Voltaire, and became an ardent disciple of Rousseau.
Massillon enjoyed in the 18th century a reputation equal to that of Bossuet and of Bourdaloue, and has been much praised by Voltaire, D'Alembert and kindred spirits among the Encyclopaedists.
There are many variations in the treatment of the legend, for which, as also for a discussion of the modern plays on the subject by Voltaire and Alfieri, see Jebb's Introduction to his edition of the Electra of Sophocles.
He became vicar-general of Orleans in 1861, professor of ethics at the Sorbonne in 1862, and, on the death of Barante, a member of the French Academy in 1867, where he occupied the seat formerly held by Voltaire.
In 1779 his bust of Moliere, at the Theatre Frangais, won universal praise, and the celebrated draped statue of Voltaire, in the vestibule of the same theatre, was exhibited at the Salon of 1781, to which Houdon also sent a statue of Marshal de Tourville, commissioned by the king, and the Diana executed for Catharine II.
Mangeant, Sur une statuette de Voltaire par J.
Voltaire and the encyclopaedists with whom she corresponded, and on whom she conferred gifts and pensions, repaid her by the grossest flattery, while doing their best to profit by her generosity.
The letters to Voltaire attributed to her are not hers, and were probably composed for her by Andrei Shuvalov.
As a ruler, Catherine professed a great contempt for system, which she said she had been taught to despise by her master Voltaire.
In pursuit of this heroic enterprise, which excited the loud admiration of Voltaire, she sent a fleet under Alexis Orlov into the Mediterranean in 1770.
When Catherine found herself opposed by the policy of France and England, and threatened by the jealousy of Prussia and Austria, she dropped the Greek design, observing to Voltaire that the descendants of the Spartans were much degenerated.
It was translated into French by Morellet in 1766, and published with an anonymous commentary by Voltaire.
He insisted especially on the necessity of truth to nature in the imaginative presentation of the facts of life, and in one letter he boldly proclaimed the superiority of Shakespeare to Corneille, Racine and Voltaire.
His friends there exerted themselves to obtain for him the office of keeper of the royal library, but Frederick had not forgotten Lessing's quarrel with Voltaire, and declined to consider his claims. During the two years which Lessing now spent in the Prussian capital, he was restless and unhappy, yet it was during this period that he published two of his greatest works, Laokoon, oder fiber die Grenzen der Malerei and Poesie (1766) and Minna von Barnhelm (1767).
Among these may be mentioned Pierre Gassendi, who revived and codified the doctrine in the 17th century; Moliere, the comte de Gramont, Rousseau, Fontenelle and Voltaire.
Their son, Duke Philip Charles Francis, was killed in 1691 fighting against the Turks, and was succeeded by Leopold (1754), a distinguished soldier of the War of the Spanish Succession, and patron of Rousseau and Voltaire.
Diderot indeed is credited with a third of this work, which was characterized by Voltaire as "du rechauffe avec de la declamation."
Af ter the death of Holberg, the affectation of Gallicism had reappeared in Denmark; and the tragedies of Voltaire, with their stilted rhetoric, were the most popular dramas of the day.
Rousseau, who was jealously sparing of his praises, addressed to him, in his Nouvelle Heloise, a fine panegyric; and when a stranger flatteringly told Voltaire he had come to see a great man, the philosopher asked him if he had seen Abauzit.
He carried on a lively correspondence with Voltaire and other French men of letters, and was a diligent student of philosophy, history and poetry.
The second treatise, which was issued by Voltaire in Hague in 1740, contains a generous exposition of some of the favourite ideas of the 18th-century philosophers respecting the duties of sovereigns, which may be summed up in the famous sentence: "the prince is not the absolute master, but only the first servant of his people."
In 1752 Voltaire, who had repeatedly visited him, came at Frederick's urgent entreaty, and received a truly royal welcome.
The famous Hirsch trial, and Voltaire's vanity and caprice, greatly lowered him in the esteem of the king, who, on his side, irritated his guest by often requiring him to correct bad verses, and by making him the object of rude banter.
The publication of Doctor Akakia, which brought down upon the president of the Academy a storm of ridicule, finally alienated Frederick; while Voltaire's wrongs culminated in the famous arrest at Frankfort, the most disagreeable elements of which were due to the misunderstanding of an order by a subordinate official.
But when his taste was formed, German literature did not exist; the choice was between Racine and Voltaire on the one hand and Gottsched and Gellert on the other.
Many episodes, describing the society at the Prussian court and the relations of Frederick to Voltaire, are unsurpassable as humorous portraiture.
He studied at Rome and Bologna, and at the age of twenty went to Paris, where he enjoyed the friendship of Voltaire and produced his great work Neutonianismo per le dame, a work on optics.
Voltaire called him his cher cygne de Padoue.
Maupertuis was unquestionably a man of considerable ability as a mathematician, but his restless, gloomy disposition involved him in constant quarrels, of which his controversies with Konig and Voltaire during the latter part of his life furnish examples.
Its vicinity was the scene of the decisive victory gained in 1712 by Marshal Villars over the allies commanded by Prince Eugene; and the battlefield is marked by a monolithic monument inscribed with the verses of Voltaire: "Regardez dans Denain l'audacieux Villars Disputant le tonnerre a l'aigle des Cesars."
If we except writers like Voltaire who could see in Augustus only the man who had destroyed the old republic and extinguished political liberty, the verdict of posterity on Augustus has varied just in proportion as his critics have fixed their attention, mainly, on the means by which he rose to power, or the use which he made of the power when acquired.
The real change in attitude which marks the dawn of a new era came in the generation of Voltaire.
The plainness and directness, both of thought and of expression, which characterize Homer were doubtless qualities of his age; but the author of the Iliad (like Voltaire, to whom Arnold happily compares him) must have possessed the national gift in a surpassing degree.
D'Aubigne's invective and Regnier's satire, at the close of the 16th century, are as modern as Voltaire's.
It was, however, Voltaire and the encyclopaedists who raised Bacon to the pinnacle of his fame in France, and hailed him as " le pere de la philosophie experimentale " (Lettres sur les Anglois).
The book is said to have inspired Voltaire's Saul.
Voltaire, in his Siècle de Louis XIV (1751), told the story of the mysterious masked prisoner with many graphic details; and, under the heading of "Ana" in the Questions sur l'encyclopedie (Geneva, 1771), he asserted that he was a bastard brother of Louis XIV., son of Mazarin and Anne of Austria.
Voltaire's influence in creating public interest in the "man in the mask," was indeed enormous; he had himself been imprisoned in the Bastille in 1717 and again in 1726; as early as 1745 he is found hinting that he knows something; in the Siècle de Louis XIV he justifies his account on the score of conversations with de Bernaville, who succeeded Saint-Mars.
According to the Abbe Soulavie, the duke of Richelieu's advice was to reflect on Voltaire's "last utterances" on the subject.
His epic Taget Ofver Bait (" The Expedition across the Belt ") (1785) is an imitation, in twelve books, of Voltaire's Henriade, and deals with the prowess of Charles X.
In the 18th century Voltaire enjoyed a supremacy in this graceful and sparkling species of writing; the Epitre a Uranie is perhaps the most famous of his verse-letters.
His father, Dimitri Alexeievich Gallitzin (1735-1803), Russian ambassador to Holland, was an intimate friend of Voltaire and a follower of Diderot; so, too, for many years was his mother, Countess Adelheid Amalie von Schmettau (1748-1806), until a severe illness in 1786 led her back to the Roman Catholic church, in which she had been reared.
Seldom was Voltaire wider of the mark than when he called Telemaque a Greek poem in French prose.
He translated Gil Blas, adopting more or less seriously Voltaire's unfounded suggestion that Le Sage plagiarized from Espinel's Marcos de Obregon, and other Spanish books; the text appeared in 1783, and in 1828 was greatly modified by Evaristo Pena y Martin, whose arrangement is still widely read.
Voltaire during his three years' residence in England (1726-1729) absorbed an enthusiasm for freedom of thought, and provided himself with the arguments necessary to support the deism which he had learned in his youth; he was to the end a deist of the school of Bolingbroke.
He is the subject of tragedies by Ben Jonson and P. Crebillon, and of the Rome sauvee of Voltaire.
From 1865 to 1872 Strauss resided in Darmstadt, and in 1870 published his lectures on Voltaire (9th ed., 1907).
We no longer condemn Shakespeare for having violated the ancient dramatic laws, nor Voltaire for having objected to the violations.
The opening lines of Hecataeus of Miletus begin the history of the true historic spirit in words which read like a sentence from Voltaire.
Voltaire's reply to it in the 18th (Essai sur les mceurs) attacked its limitations on the basis of deism, and its miraculous procedure on that of science.
In the extent of his knowledge, in keenness of observation, in variety of style, in his literary output, he has been compared to Voltaire; but it is perhaps as the forerunner of the great Renaissance Platonists that he will be chiefly remembered.
Carra, a Swiss who had been tutor to Prince Ghica's children, and who published in 1781 an account of the actual state of the principalities, speaks of some of the boiars as possessing a taste for French literature and even for the works of Voltaire, a tendency actively combated by the patriarch of Constantinople.
The author displays a profound knowledge of the life and the customs of the gipsies, and of Western literature from the Batrachomyomachia to the Pucelle of Voltaire.
He then studied Italian, French and German poetry, and made translations from Voltaire .and Goethe.
He also translated the Alzire (1834) and Merope (1847) of Voltaire.
Until the 19th century the history of Joan of Arc was almost entirely neglected; Voltaire's scurrilous satire La Pucelle, while indicative of the attitude of his time, may be compared with the very fair praises in the Encyclopedie.
Repeated efforts have been made for the benefit of the poet's descendants, Voltaire, Charles X.
The central situation, which so greatly shocked Voltaire and indeed all French critics from the date of the piece, 'does not seem to blame.
Several editions are recorded between this and that of Voltaire (12 vols.
(1801) appeared an edition of the Works with Voltaire's commentary and criticisms thereon by Palissot (12 vols.
Of the exceedingly numerous writings relative to Corneille we may mention the Recueil de dissertations'sur plusieurs tragedies de Corneille et de Racine of the abbe Granet (Paris, 1740), the criticisms already alluded to of Voltaire, La Harpe and Palissot, the well-known work of Guizot, first published as Vie de Corneille in 1813 and revised as Corneille et son temps in 1852, and the essays, repeated in his Portraits litte'raires, in Port-Royal, and in the Nouveaux Lundis of Sainte-Beuve.
Voltaire is the authority for the well-known anecdote about the apple.
He studied closely the works of Charles Bonnet, and the political ideas of Rousseau and Voltaire.
In the 3rd century, Hierocles endeavoured to prove that the doctrines and the life of Apollonius were more valuable than those of Christ, and, in modern times, Voltaire and Charles Blount (1654-1693), the English freethinker, have adopted a similar standpoint.
Catherine of Russia, the friend of Voltaire and the benefactress of Diderot, sent her congratulations to the man who denounced French philosophers as miscreants and wretches.
It also contains reminiscences of Voltaire, who resided here for several years.
It contains reminiscences of Frederick and of Voltaire, a few pictures by ancient masters, a theatre, and a large hall decorated with shells and minerals.
But he succeeded in gaining the intimacy of Voltaire, who had known his mother and who wished to make a poet of him.
In 1 777, on Voltaire's advice, Villette married Mademoiselle de Varicourt, but the marriage was unhappy, and his wife was subsequently adopted by Voltaire's niece, Madame Denis.
The margravine made Baireuth one of the intellectual centres of Germany, surrounding herself with a little court of wits and artists which gained added prestige from the occasional visits of Voltaire and Frederick the Great.
Voltaire, Montesquieu, the Encyclopaedists and the Physiocrats (recurring to the tradition of Bayle and Fontenelle), by dissolving in their analytical crucible all consecrated beliefs and all fixed institutions, brought back into the human society of the 18th century that humanity which had been so rudely eliminated.
Whilst some, like Voltaire and the Physiocrats, representatives of the privileged classes and careless of political rights, wished to make use of the omnipotence of the prince to accomplish desirable reforms, or, like Montesquieu, adversely criticized despotism and extolled moderate governments, other, plebeiaris like Rousseau, proclaimed the theory of the social contract and the sovereignty of the people.
Charles, who believed that the Jesuits had promoted the outbreak, and also that they had organized a murder plot against him, allowed his minister Aranda (q.v.), the correspondent of Voltaire, to expel the order in 1766, and he exerted his whole influence to secure its entire suppression.
During three years he was a member of the Nonsense Club with his two schoolfellows from Westminster, Churchill and Lloyd, and he wrote sundry verses in magazines and translated two books of Voltaire's Henriade.
His education was supervised by the devout duc de la Vauguyon, but his own taste was for the writings of Voltaire and the encyclopaedists.
As he grew older, however, his social successes ceased, and he began to dream of more lasting distinctions, stimulated by the success of Maupertuis as a mathematician, of Voltaire as a poet, of Montesquieu as a philosopher.
Voltaire said that it was full of commonplaces, and that what was original was false or problematical; Rousseau declared that the very benevolence of the author gave the lie to his principles; Grimm thought that all the ideas in the book were borrowed from Diderot; according to Madame du Deffand, Helvetius had raised such a storm by saying openly what every one thought in secret; Madame de Graffigny averred that all the good things in the book had been picked up in her own salon.
He was at home in Voltaire and Rousseau, but had little or no acquaintance with the French sensational philosophy.
His abandoned yet graceful Court was just the place for Voltaire.
One of these guarded treasures was a volume of grossly indecent verses by Voltaire, addressed to Frederick the Great.
mere facts of history never really mattered to Voltaire.
The fortunes of Merope have furnished the subject of tragedies by Euripides (Cresphontes, not extant), Voltaire, Maffei and Matthew Arnold.
Already antiquated, it could not resist the wit and raillery with which Voltaire, in his Lettres sur les Anglais (1728), brought against it the principles and results of Locke and Newton.
in 1607, but the chÃ¢teau in which the duke of Arenberg of the 18th century entertained Voltaire no longer exists.
Maupertuis, who, together with Voltaire, introduced the new idea of the universe as based on Newton's discoveries, sought to account for the origin of organic things by the hypothesis of sentient atoms. Buffon the naturalist speculated, not only on the structure and genesis of organic beings, but also on the course of formation of the earth and solar system, which he conceived after the analogy of the development of organic beings out of seed.
He was fond of verse-making, and tried to introduce into French verse the rules of Latin prosody, his translation of the fourth book of the Aeneid into classical hexameters being greeted by Voltaire as "the only prose translation in which he had found any enthusiasm."
the Roman institutions which were then so fashionable (see Praefect); it may also be recalled that Voltaire had used the term "prefecture" in speaking of the authority of Louis XIV.
411) and Voltaire's Candide (chs.
to Louis XIII., had fallen into oblivion during the age of Voltaire and the turmoil of the Revolution; and meanwhile, every advance of Russia had been marked by further encroachments of the Orthodox clergy in Palestine on the ancient rights of their Latin rivals.
Voltaire never wrote anything equal to Omars fascinating rhapsodies in praise of wine, love and all earthly joys, and his passionate denunciations of a malevolent and inexorable fate which dooms to slow decay or sudden death and to eternal oblivion all that is great, good and beautiful in this world.
Voltaire makes an interesting observation on the technical difference between an English and a French sermon in the 18th century; the former, he says, is a solid and somewhat dry dissertation which the preacher reads to the congregation without a gesture and without any inflection of his voice; the latter is a long declamation, scrupulously divided into three points, and recited by heart with enthusiasm.
It seems that Voltaire lent himself to the duchess's frantic hatred of the regent Orleans, and helped to compose lampoons on that prince.
A further "exile" at Chatenay and elsewhere succeeded the imprisonment, and though Voltaire was admitted to an audience by the regent and treated graciously he was not trusted.
But Maupertuis must needs write his Letters, and thereupon (1752) appeared one of Voltaire's most famous, though perhaps not one of his most read works, the Diatribe du Docteur Akakia.
In July 1755 a very polite and, as far as Voltaire was concerned, indirect resolution of the Consistory declared that in consequence of these proceedings of the Sieur de Voltaire the pastors should notify their flocks to abstain, and that the chief syndic should be informed of the Consistory's perfect confidence that the edicts would be carried out.
The suppression of the Encyclopedie, to which he had been a considerable contributor, and whose conductors were his intimate friends, drew from him a shower of lampoons directed now at "l'infame" (see infra) generally, now at literary victims, such as Le Franc de Pompignan (who had written one piece of verse so much better than anything serious of Voltaire's that he could not be forgiven), or Palissot (who in his play Les Philosophes had boldly gibbeted most of the persons so termed, but had not included Voltaire), now at Freron, an excellent critic and a dangerous writer, who had attacked Voltaire from the conservative side, and at whom the patriarch of Ferney, as he now began to be called, levelled in return the very inferior farce-lampoon of L'Ecossaise, of the first night of which Freron himself did an admirably humorous criticism.
Thus Candide attacks religious and philosophical optimism, L'Homme aux quarante ecus certain social and political ways of the time, Zadig and others the received forms of moral and metaphysical orthodoxy, while some are mere lampoons on the Bible, the unfailing source of Voltaire's wit.
The trial of La Barre in 1766 at Abbeville (see VOLTAIRE) is the most famous in modern times.
The Gazette litteraire (1764-1766), which had Voltaire, Diderot and SaintLambert among its editors, was intended to swamp the small fry by criticism; the Journal des dames (1759-1778) was of a light magazine class; and the Journal de monsieur (1776-1783) had three phases of existence, and died after extending to thirty volumes.
For three years he worked indefatigably to procure justice, and made the Calas case famous throughout Europe (see Voltaire).
A letter to Voltaire on his poem about the Lisbon earthquake embittered the dislike between the two, being surreptitiously published.
Voltaire hastily seized his pen to refute the philosophy of the Systeme in the article "Dieu" in his Dictionnaire philosophique, while Frederick the Great also drew up an answer to it.
In an age when Voltaire preached toleration and the great penologist Beccaria attacked the death-penalty and torture, in the States of the Church heretics were still liable to torture, the relapsed to capital punishment; and in a backward country like Spain the single reign of Philip V.
The story was, on the ground of want of evidence, regarded as suspicious by Guilliman in a private letter of 1607, and doubts were expressed by the brothers Iselin (1727 and 1754) and by Voltaire (1754); but it was not till 1760 that the legend was definitely attacked, on the ground of its similarity to the story of Tokko (see below), in an anonymous pamphlet by Freudenberger, a Bernese pastor.
Voltaire, in his SiÃ¨cle de Louis XIV (1751), told the story of the mysterious masked prisoner with many graphic details; and, under the heading of "Ana" in the Questions sur l'encyclopedie (Geneva, 1771), he asserted that he was a bastard brother of Louis XIV., son of Mazarin and Anne of Austria.
Voltaire's influence in creating public interest in the "man in the mask," was indeed enormous; he had himself been imprisoned in the Bastille in 1717 and again in 1726; as early as 1745 he is found hinting that he knows something; in the SiÃ¨cle de Louis XIV he justifies his account on the score of conversations with de Bernaville, who succeeded Saint-Mars (d.
1708) as governor of the Bastille, and others; and after Heiss in 1770 had identified the "mask" with Mattioli (see below), Voltaire was not above suggesting that he really knew more than he had said, but thought it sufficient to have given the clue to the enigma.
His coarseness, moreover, disgusting as it is, has nothing of the corruption of refined voluptuousness about it, and nothing of the sniggering indecency which disgraces men like Pope, like Voltaire, and like Sterne.
Voltaire, who was prompted by his natural benevolence to comment on the latter (the profits went to a relation of the poet), was not altogether fitted by nature to appreciate Corneille, and moreover, as has been ingeniously pointed out, was not a little wearied by the length of his task.
When it was thought sufficient to say with Boileau that Corneille excited, not pity or terror, but admiration which was not a tragic passion; or that "D'un seul nom quelquefois le son dur ou bizarre Rend un poeme entier ou burlesque ou barbare;" when Voltaire could think it crushing to add to his exposure of the "infamies" of Theodore - " apres cela comment osons-nous condamner les pieces de Lope de Vega et de Shakespeare?"
The splendid soliloquies of Medea which, as Voltaire happily says, "annoncent Corneille," the entire parts of Rodogune and Chimene, the final speech of Camille in Horace, the discovery scene of Cinna, the dialogues of Pauline and Severe in Polyeucte, the magnificentlycontrasted conception and exhibition of the best and worst forms of feminine dignity in the Cornelie of Pompee and the Cleopatre of Rodogune, the singularly fine contrast in Don Sanche d'Aragon, between the haughtiness of the Spanish nobles and the unshaken dignity of the supposed adventurer Carlos, and the characters of Aristie, Viriate and Sertorius himself, in the play named after the latter, are not to be surpassed in grandeur of thought, felicity of design or appropriateness of language.
Voltaire is a good example for demonstrating the translate what you know approach.
Her Lettres were edited by Voltaire (1787), by J.
He visited Voltaire at Brussels and spent some time in Paris, where he associated with the younger Crebillon, Fontenelle and Montesquieu.
Not very much is known of the mother, who died when Voltaire was but seven years old.
The word usage examples above have been gathered from various sources to reflect current and historial usage. They do not represent the opinions of YourDictionary.com.