It is clear that Voltaire was a brilliant

It is clear that Voltaire was a brilliant - It is clear...

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Unformatted text preview: It is clear that Voltaire was a brilliant, complex individual. He manifested great charm that won him many friends among influential members of both sexes; he also possessed almost a genius for making enemies. He was a man who liked to oppose. Witness his quarrel with J. B. Rousseau and the completely uncalled-for one with Crébillon. And surely it was not all Frederick the Great's fault that Voltaire did not flourish at Potsdam. There is a comparable contrast with reference to his reputation. Goethe praised him in superlatives, speaking of his genius, his "eagle's sweep of vision," his "vast understanding"; for the great German, the Frenchman was "perfection indeed." One dissenter was the writer Joseph Joubert, who believed that Voltaire lacked compassion — a curious judgment on the man who came to the defense of such victims of intolerance as Calais, Sirven, and...
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