VoltaireFrancois-Marie Arouet (1694-1778)Prolific writer, popularizer of Enlightenment ideas.Savage critic of Church dogma and the aristocracy.Spent time in prison and in exile in England.Was denied a Church burial.
Voltaire“He seized freedom of speecheven when it was not granted to him, and he used it to mock corrupt priests and self-regarding kings.” (p. 352)
Voltaire“... his darkly comic imagination propelled him to enormous fame. He was so successful that he grew richer than many kings in Europe. His witty, light prose, and his clear and accessible style allowed him to popularize many of the revolutionary goals of the Enlightenment—human rights, the value of freedom and tolerance, the hope for progress through reasoned debate, and the urgent desire to end human suffering where we can.” (p. 352)
Shifting powersBURG: a fortified or walled town in early or medieval EuropeBURG > Bourgeoisie
Shifting powers “For safety and for defense, people in the Middle Ages formed small communities around a central lord or master. Most people lived on a manor, which consisted of the castle, the church, the village, and the surrounding farm land.”l.html
Voltaire“The young writer, who was now known by his pen name, "Voltaire," spent three years in exile in Englandafter a quarrel with a French noble man. There he met the writers Jonathan Swiftand Alexander Pope. He enjoyed the freedom from censorship and punishment allowed to writers in England, and returned to France with an even stronger sense of his right to dissent and oppose authority.” (p. 352)
Time in PrussiaThe reign of Frederick the Great of Prussia is often described as Enlightened Absolutism.Voltaire was a visitor at Frederick’s court, before they had a falling out.
The origins of Candide“On November 1, 1755, a devas-tating earthquake hit Lisbon, in Portugal. Upwards of thirty thousand people died. Voltaire, writing almost obsessivelyabout this tragedy in his letters, wondered how anyone could make a case for an optimistic philosophy in light of it.He worried over Alexander Pope's assertion in his Essay on Man that "Whatever is, is right."Could anyone really believe that this was God's will—that a just and rational God had created this world and that it was, in the words of the German philosopher Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, "the best of all possible worlds"?Voltaire's absurd philosopher Pangloss ("all tongue") is a caricature of Leibniz.” (p. 353)
LeibnizGottfried Wilhelm Leibniz (1646-1716)Theodicy and optimism:He argued in his Theodicythat we live in the “best of all possible worlds.”
PanglossLeibniz teaching is caricatured by the character of Pangloss