Voltaire wrote a great deal on the subject of physics in which he demonstrated considerable knowledge, but it is to the philosophical works that we now turn, to two in particular: the Dictionnaire philosophique, which is largely made up of material that he had prepared for the Encyclopédie, of which Diderot may be considered the guiding spirit; and the ambitious Traité de Metaphysique. The first is a prime source for Voltaire's religious and political views; the second, which did not really succeed, merely proves that Voltaire, however intellectual he may have been, was not a philosopher in the sense that Locke or Leibnitz was. Still another division is that of critical and miscellaneous writing. In pamphlet after pamphlet, he demonstrated superior ability as a journalist. The ones in defence of Calais and others are prime examples. The best of his several critical works is his
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Commentaire sur Corneille, optimistic note. L'Homme, Histoires des voyages, aux quarante écus