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Unformatted text preview: While in England, Voltaire learned to read and write the language fluently. He read avidly the works of Bacon, Shakespeare, Milton (whose allegory of Death and Sin he found unacceptable), Newton, and Locke (whose views on tolerance particularly were acceptable to him). His newfound interest in Shakespeare was to lead him to begin writing his own Roman play, Brutus. Later he was to establish himself as a dedicated Newtonian and to write a treatise on Newton's system. Voltaire also collected materials for his Lettres philosophiques sur les Anglais, in which he interpreted most favorably English culture for his countrymen and contrasted it with that of France. Gustave Lanson, the noted French literary historian, called these English Letters the first bomb thrown at the ancien rgime. It is clear that Voltaire had only admiration for England and Englishmen. In contrast to the France he had clear that Voltaire had only admiration for England and Englishmen....
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