Voltaire and the French Enlightenment

Will Durant (1885 - 1981)

In this Little Blue Book Number 512, Will Durant describes François-Marie Arouet, the writer, historian, and philosopher known as Voltaire (1694-1778) as "unprepossessing, ugly, vain, flippant, unscrupulous, even at times dishonest" and "tirelessly kind, considerate, ...as sedulous in helping friends as in crushing enemies." "My trade is to say what I think," wrote Voltaire, and he did so in ninety-nine "sparkling and fruitful" volumes. He advocated for freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and for the separation of church and state. In 1791, when his ashes were carried through Paris to be re-entombed in the Panthéon, 100,000 men and women joined the procession, while 600,000 flanked the streets. Written on his funeral car were the words: "He gave the human mind a great impetus; he prepared us for freedom." (Pamela Nagami, M.D.)

Genre(s): Biography & Autobiography

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Ch. 1: Paris: 'Oedipe' Pamela Nagami
Play 02 Ch. 2: London: The 'Letters on the English' Pamela Nagami
Play 03 Ch. 3: Cirey: The Romances Pamela Nagami
Play 04 Ch. 4: Potsdam and Frederick Pamela Nagami
Play 05 Ch. 5: Les Délices: 'The Essay on Morals' Pamela Nagami
Play 06 Ch. 6: Ferney: 'Candide' Pamela Nagami
Play 07 Ch. 7: The 'Encyclopedia' and the 'Philosophic Dictionary' Pamela Nagami
Play 08 Ch. 8: 'Écrasez l'Infame' Pamela Nagami
Play 09 Ch. 9: Voltaire and Rousseau Pamela Nagami
Play 10 Ch. 10: Dénouement Pamela Nagami