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Biographie de Voltaire en anglais

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Par misslivres  •  30 Septembre 2018  •  Fiche  •  1 579 Mots (7 Pages)  •  185 Vues

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Voltaire

 [pic 1] Paris: 21.11.1694 - 30.05.1778

      François-Marie Arnouet

Life/Background:

 His mother, Marie Marguerite d'Aumart, died when he was 7 years old. He is the third child of the family. His father, Francois Arouet was the king's counsellor and a lawyer aside. He wanted the best for his sons so he sent them into prestigious school, Voltaire born Francois –Marie Arouet was send to a Jesuit college: Louis-le-Grand. The young writer had started prestigious law's study but stopped them realising that he wanted to write to the great disappointment of his father. Voltaire attend to the literature "salons" and know the part of the high society. In 1722, his father died and Voltaire inherited of a lot of money.

Main event of his life:

The 1st time Voltaire was sent to the bastille was between 1717 and 1718. It was because he upset by his work the regent Phillip II of Orleans, he was sent therefore 11 months in the bastille. There, he wrote his play "Oedipe". The play was published when he came out of Prison and had a great success. That gave Voltaire the confidence he needed to continue to write and to fight for people's rights. In 1726, he had an argument with the knight Rohan, because his family (Rohan's) was very powerful: they managed to put Voltaire in jail without a trial. In these cases, the accused can't defend himself because there isn't an accusation or a trial. Voltaire was permitted to get out of jail only if he promises to leave France, which is what he did. This episode of his life had a big impact on his ideas, indeed Voltaire was revolted that people can't have fair trial or civil rights. He will be fighting for that all along. In England, he saw how the English monarchy worked. He was a lot influenced while he stayed in the UK: he has been particularly inspired by Locke and Newton. Back in France Voltaire published his "philosophical letters" in 1734. It talks about religion, sciences, arts, politics and philosophy, (he compares the French and the English monarchy). These letters are not written in elaborated French so in that way people from the middle classes could also read and start to think by themselves, these letters weren't destinated to somebody but more to the reader so he can sharp his mind. These letters are may be not perfect but it is one of the best masterpiece of Voltaire. Due to the publishing of these letters Voltaire needed to exile himself another time in a province of France for 10 years. He also started there to be interested in the scientific experiments and the scientific philosophy. In 1744, Voltaire became the historiographer of Louis XV and entered his court and the French academy in 1746. He will write a tale inspired from the courtesans ("Zadig") in 1747 and then he will be disgraced. This philosophical tale handles themes like human's fate, the bad, the good, happiness. It doesn't please the king, Voltaire needs to exile. One year after, Voltaire goes to Prussia to meet Frederic II, but he'll be kick out the court because he got into trouble with another courtesan. From there he went to Switzerland and settled down in a house called "Les délices".

 But he was still in touch with influent people in France and Europe. Voltaire publish "The century of Louis XV" (Voltaire is also the historiographer (writer who is in charge to write on the period of his time or the monarch that is ruling during the author's life) of the king). Candide was published in 1759. And one year after his death (1778) his rests are taken to the Pantheon. He had written many essays on political ideas but also plays or books but even if it was a piece to distract people there was always a part of truth underneath, most often inspired from unfair cases. His most important masterpieces are: "Oedipe"  (1719), "La Henriade" (1723), Zaïre(1732), "Les lettres philosophiques" (1734), "Zadig"(1747), "The century of Louis XV" (1751) and "Candide"(1759).

Political philosophy:

Voltaire wanted to reform the society at the judiciary and social level based on what he had seen in England. He was very popular among the people of middle class because he fought against every type of restriction of individualist freedom. The writer wasn't agreeing with the old regime ("ancien régime": system of government where power and taxes are balanced unfairly, it was functioning until 1792) particularly because the First Estate, the church, would benefit from all the money, the second Estate, the nobles, they would benefit from the money and they didn't need to pay lots of taxes and the last Estate, the Third one, the middle class, these people had the more expensive taxes without any benefit from. The philosopher was very involved in what he undertakes, particularly in these unfair judiciary cases like Calas (1762) or the knight de la Barre (1766).  Firstly, Voltaire used liberalism to fight his two major concerns; tolerance and fanatism (of the religion). To write, Voltaire used a lot of humour and irony to denounce the king's power, to critic social abuses of the Church and judges. He a lot on tolerance and especially on religious tolerance. Because of the earthquake in Lisbon in 1755, Voltaire became humanist (the search of knowledge is important and Voltaire thinks that humans have non-limit intelligence). He is a deist, he believes in the mechanic clockwise of the world. He is also very sceptic (when you don't want to believe in the thing until you have proven) In his writing, the author critics the religions saying they are nonsense but he also criticising atheism by the fact that with a religion people don't kill or do bad things because they believe in forgiveness of sins. He put his trust in the power in place, as long as the power make a place for the intellectuals. In this case we aren't in a monarchy but more like an oligarchy (power un the hands of a group of people). That is also the difference with the revolution in England and in France, for the British people it was the middle class who revolted. Among Voltaire and the French people, it was the new nobles/intellectuals. In 1778, the great philosopher has been recognise as an icon of the Enlightenment progressive ideas and when he came back to Paris he is applauded. Voltaire as we saw wrote different types of literary genre; essays, novels, tales, biographies, poems but his preferred type of literature were the tales because that where the author would expose his thought against the power in place but because it was in a fiction, the government or the king couldn't say anything. Although he has been afraid all his life of be put to jail because of what he wrote, the censure existed, every text of everybody who wrote one needed to be examined to be sure that there isn't anything bad written on the Church or the power. Many of Voltaire's texts has been burned because of the censure. And lots of Voltaire's his writing will be published anonymously because of the same reason.

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