Playwright, Author

1694 – 1778


Who was Voltaire?

François-Marie Arouet, known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was a French Enlightenment writer, historian and philosopher famous for his wit, his attacks on the established Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of religion, freedom of expression, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time. As a satirical polemicist, he frequently made use of his works to criticize intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

Famous Quotes:

  • Self-love is the instrument of our preservation.
  • The husband who decides to surprise his wife is often very much surprised himself.
  • The history of human opinion is scarcely anything more than the history of human errors.
  • One of the chief misfortunes of honest people is that they are cowardly.
  • He must be very ignorant for he answers every question he is asked.
  • Doctors are men who prescribe medicines of which they know little, to cure diseases of which they know less, in human beings of whom they know nothing.
  • Truth is a fruit which should not be plucked until it is ripe.
  • The only way to compel men to speak good of us is to do it.
  • I believe that there never was a creator of a philosophical system who did not confess at the end of his life that he had wasted his time. It must be admitted that the inventors of the mechanical arts have been much more useful to men that the inventors of syllogisms. He who imagined a ship towers considerably above him who imagined innate ideas.
  • In my life, I have prayed but one prayer: oh Lord, make my enemies ridiculous. And God granted it.

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Nov 21, 1694
Also known as
  • Francois-Marie Arouet
  • Francois-Marie Arouet de Voltaire
  • Francois Voltaire
  • François-Marie Arouet
  • Deism
  • French people
  • France
  • Lycée Louis-le-Grand
    (1704 - 1711)
Lived in
  • Paris
  • London
    (1727 - 1728)
  • Ferney-Voltaire
  • Geneva
May 30, 1778
Resting place
Panthéon, Paris

on July 23, 2013


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