This preview shows page 1. Sign up to view the full content.
Unformatted text preview: We have seen that Voltaire's pessimism had become more pronounced as the years advanced. Long before the earthquake, he had rejected general optimism. Among other things, his attitude, no doubt, had been influenced by his age and continued illness, the death of Mme. du Chtelet, the Berlin- Frankfort experience, and his rejection by Louis XV and the court that had led to his exile in Switzerland. There was also the outbreak of the Seven Years War. But for Voltaire, the great earthquake provided incontrovertible proof that the tout est bien doctrine was nonsense. All thinking people, he was convinced, would no longer look for a safe life in this world under the guidance of a benign and concerned deity who would reward the virtuous. Voltaire was more than ever sure that accident played a major part in life, that people were basically weak, helpless, ignorant of their...
View Full Document
- Fall '11