“To name Voltaire is to characterize the entire eighteenth century.” – Victor Hugo
Why should you, an extremely intelligent – and, for that matter, attractive – person care about Voltaire quotes?
François-Marie Arouet (1694 – 1778), who is better known by his nom de plume Voltaire, was one of the most prolific writers of the French Enlightenment. As a historian, philosopher, polemicist, and pen pal to numerous important figures of his time, Voltaire was a vehement advocate for freedom of religion, freedom of speech, civil liberties, and the separation of church and state. (His most pointed attacks were aimed at the Catholic Church, given its dominance within the Kingdom of France, although he was by no means an atheist.)
Voltaire is best known for his novella Candide, ou l’Optimisme. Taken out of context Candide is the meandering adventure of a well-meaning if not somewhat goofy fellow who is optimistic to a fault. Taken in context, Candide is a rejection of the philosophical optimism of Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz, a parody of the romantic clichés prevalent during Voltaire’s time, and a commentary on recent events such as the Great Lisbon Earthquake and Seven Years’ War. Although its subject matter has become somewhat dated, Candide remains a funny read as well as one of Western civilization’s most influential novels.
Candide is only the tip of the Voltaire iceberg. The prodigious writer penned over 2,000 books, 20,000 letters, and an unknown number of shopping lists. His other best known works are Essay on the Customs and the Spirit of the Nations, The Age of Louis XIV, Commentaire sur Corneille, and Henriade.
His subject matter frequently landed Voltaire in trouble with the powers that be. Fortunately wit gives someone’s ideas far greater longevity than political power ever will. This is why people still quote Voltaire but would be hard-pressed to say thing one about Pope Clement XIV.
Quotations by Voltaire
Voltaire Quotes on Government
Did we leave out one of your favorite quotations by Voltaire? Don’t hold your dissatisfaction in. That is unhealthy. Instead write a long, humorous polemic that will be treasured by future generations hundreds of years from now. Or really stick it to us by angrily ordering one of our fine T-shirts, which are made with light, breathable fabric.
Who is Ayn Rand? Born to a middle class Russian-Jewish family in 1905, Rand was treated to a front row seat to the wonders of communism in action. Rand fled with her family to the Crimea following the “liberation” of her father’s pharmacy but ultimately returned to Saint Petersburg where she could attend university when she wasn’t busy starving. Due to her life experiences, Ayn Rand quotes are some of the most thought-provoking in the world.