The Biography of François-Marie Arouet

The Biography of François-Marie Arouet, also known by his pen name Voltaire, was a French philosopher, writer, and social critic born in Paris in 1694.

He was one of the most prominent figures of the Enlightenment, a cultural and intellectual movement that swept Europe during the 18th century.

Voltaire’s works marked a sharp wit, a commitment to reason and tolerance, and a deep concern for human rights and social justice.

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Early Life and Education of François-Marie Arouet

Voltaire was born into a prosperous family in Paris. His father was a notary, and his mother came from a noble family.

Voltaire was educated at a Jesuit school, where he showed an early talent for writing and poetry.

However, his father wanted him to become a lawyer, so he was sent to study law in Caen.

In Caen, Voltaire became friends with a group of intellectuals who shared his interest in literature, science, and philosophy.

He also began to write plays, including his first tragedy, “Oedipe,” which was produced in 1718.

Despite his writing success, Voltaire’s father was disappointed with his son’s career choice, and the two had a strained relationship throughout their lives.

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Career as a Writer

Voltaire moved to Paris in 1718, quickly establishing himself as a famous writer and wit.

He became associated with a group of writers and intellectuals known as the “philosophes,” who were committed to the ideals of the Enlightenment, including reason, science, and progress.

One of Voltaire’s most famous works is the satirical novel “Candide,” which he wrote in 1759.

The novel is a biting critique of the optimism and complacency of the Enlightenment, and it skewers many of the leading figures of the time.

Despite its controversial subject matter, “Candide” became an instant classic and is still widely read and studied today.

Voltaire was also a prolific playwright, writing over 50 plays during his career. Many of his plays were political and social satires, and they often got him into trouble with the authorities.

In 1726, he was imprisoned in the Bastille for writing a satirical poem about the regent of France.

He was later exiled to England, where he studied English literature and culture for two years.

In addition to his literary works, Voltaire was a prolific letter writer. He corresponded with many of the leading figures of the Enlightenment, including Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Benjamin Franklin, and Catherine the Great.

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Philosophical and Political Views of François-Marie Arouet

Voltaire’s philosophy was rooted in the ideals of the Enlightenment. He believed in reason, tolerance, and the pursuit of knowledge and was deeply critical of religious and political authority.

He was a strong advocate for freedom of thought and expression, and he argued that people should be allowed to pursue their happiness without interference from the state or the church.

Voltaire also criticized the Catholic Church, which he saw as a repressive and corrupt institution.

He was a strong proponent of religious toleration, and he argued that people should be allowed to worship as they pleased as long as they did not harm others.

Voltaire’s political views were equally radical. He believed in democracy and the rule of law and was a strong advocate for individual rights and freedoms.

François-Marie Arouetwas critical of the absolute monarchy of his time and argued that power should be shared among different branches of government.

He was also a supporter of the American Revolution and corresponded with many of the leading figures of the American independence movement.


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