A description of one of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history

See Article History Renaissance art, paintingsculpturearchitecturemusicand literature produced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe under the combined influences of an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more individualistic view of man.

A description of one of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history

One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual …history, Voltaire personifies the cultural movement beginning in the France of the early 18th Century known as the Enlightenment. Voltaire's Life and Works.

It was at this time that he began to call himself Voltaire. Voltaire acquired an independent fortune through speculation; he was often noted for his generosity but also displayed a shrewd business acumen throughout his life and became a millionaire.

In a young nobleman, the chevalier de Rohan, resenting a witticism made at his expense by Voltaire, had Voltaire beaten. Far from obtaining justice, Voltaire was imprisoned in the Bastille through the influence of the powerful Rohan family, and he was released only upon his promise to go to England.

The episode left an indelible impression on Voltaire: During his more than two years in England, Voltaire met, through his friend Lord Bolingbroke, the literary men of the period.

He was impressed by the greater freedom of thought in England and deeply influenced by Newton and Locke. Voltaire's Letters concerning the English Nationin Englishwhich appeared in French as Lettres philosophiques, may be said to have initiated the vogue of English philosophy and science that characterized the literature of the Enlightenment.

The book was formally banned in France. Work in England and Cirey. While in England, Voltaire wrote the first of his historical works, a history of Charles XII of Sweden, which remains a classic in biography. In he met Mme du Chatelet, whose intellectual interests, especially in science, accorded with his own.

Through the influence of Mme de Pompadour, Voltaire was made royal historiographer, a gentleman of the king's bedchamber, and a member of the French Academy. His relations with Frederick, a man whose unbending nature matched his own, were generally stormy. At a distance, the two men later became reconciled, and their correspondence was resumed.

The article, which declared that the Calvinist pastors of Geneva had seen the light and ceased to believe in organized religion, stirred up a violent controversy. The Ferney Years and Candide. Voltaire purchased an estate, Ferney see Ferney-Voltairejust over the French border, where he lived until shortly before his death.

Voltaire also edited the works of Corneille, wrote commentaries on Racine, and turned out a stream of anonymous novels and pamphlets in which he attacked the established institutions of his time with unremitting virulence.

Ironically, it is one of these disavowed works, Candidethat is most widely read today.

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It is the masterpiece among his "philosophical romances," which also include the inimitable short tale Jeannot et Colinperhaps the quintessence of Voltaire's style.

In Candide Voltaire attacked the philosophical optimism made fashionable by Leibniz. Its conclusion, "Let us cultivate our garden" instead of speculating on unanswerable problemsexpresses succinctly Voltaire's practical philosophy of common sense.

His journey and his reception were a triumph and apotheosis, but the emotion was too much for him and he died in Paris soon afterward.

In order to obtain Christian burial he had signed a partial retraction of his writings. This was considered insufficient by the church, but he refused to sign a more general retraction.

Voltaire was a philosopher who defended what

To a friend he gave the following written declaration: Voltaire attained the most subtly comical effects through an imperceptible turn of a phrase; his sentences flow with facility; his expressions are always felicitous and unlabored; his irony is as devastating as its touch is light.

Brevity and lucidity characterize all his writings. The Dictionnaire philosophique is a compendium of Voltaire's thought on the most varied subjects. In his serious poetic works, the perfection of his style is usually combined with a coldness that has robbed them of lasting appeal, although they tower above those of other 18th-century imitators of Racine.

Voltaire was significant in helping to introduce to the theater authentic costumes, and he labored successfully for the improvement of the social status of actors. In his philosophy, based on skepticism and rationalism, he was indebted to Locke as well as to Montagne and Bayle.

Despite Voltaire's passion for clarity and reason, he frequently contradicted himself. Thus he would maintain in one place that man's nature was as unchangeable as that of animals and would express elsewhere his belief in progress and the gradual humanization of society through the action of the arts, sciences, and commerce.

In politics he advocated reform but had a horror of the ignorance and potential fanaticism of people and the violence of revolution.

A description of one of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history

In religion Voltaire felt that Christianity was a good thing for chambermaids and tailors to believe in, but for the use of the elite he advocated a simple deism. His line, "If God did not exist, he would have to be invented," has become proverbial.

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Voltaire's influence in the popularization of the science and philosophy of his age was incalculably great. Perhaps his most lasting and original intellectual contribution was made in the field of history.Search the history of over billion web pages on the Internet.

Nov 08,  · Francois Marie Arouet de Voltaire, the nom de plume of Francois Marie Arouet, was a French philosopher and author. One of the towering geniuses in literary and intellectual history, Voltaire.

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Renaissance art, painting, sculpture, architecture, music, and literature produced during the 14th, 15th, and 16th centuries in Europe under the combined influences of an increased awareness of nature, a revival of classical learning, and a more individualistic view of man.

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Any good list, be it The 50 Greatest Living Geniuses or Top 50 Hairstyle Trends in , is really designed to provoke debate, incite discussion, generate collegial disagreement, and ultimately promote reflection.

Detroit-born Natalie Zemon Davis is a towering figure among historians. Davis created one of the first history courses in.

Dec 16,  · A study of accepted “geniuses” throughout history might reveal that the majority engaged in seemingly trivial or pointless exercises for personal pleasure. This may have to do with the brain’s need to focus on non-taxing pursuits from time to time in order to facilitate recovery from intense sessions.

Why is Voltaire famous