Dusty Quotations


Of course, many absurdities once believed, can only be seen for what they are with benefit of hindsight.

Who is Voltaire?

François-Marie Arouet (French: [fʁɑ̃swa maʁi aʁwɛ]; 21 November 1694 – 30 May 1778), known by his nom de plume Voltaire (/vɒlˈtɛər, voʊl-/; also US/vɔːl-/; French: [vɔltɛːʁ]), was a French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher famous for his wit, his criticism of Christianity—especially the Roman Catholic Church—as well as his advocacy of freedom of speechfreedom of religion, and separation of church and state.

Voltaire was a versatile and prolific writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, histories, and scientific expositions. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was one of the first authors to become renowned and commercially successful internationally. He was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties and he was at constant risk from the strict censorship laws of the Catholic French monarchy. His polemics witheringly satirized intolerance, religious dogma, and the French institutions of his day.

10 thoughts on “Dusty Quotations

  1. I find Voltaire so fascinating. I learnt about him in a couple of my history courses including one about the American Enlightenment since he had such an influence on the American revolutionaries.

    1. Yeah! My degree was in Letters (lit, philosophy, history, classics) so I read and studied Voltaire a fair amount. It’s strange, though, because I think – probably for the first time in the history of my country – he is finally falling out of fashion with the young and highly educated. I don’t know what that means for the future… but it means something.

    2. Perhaps. That’s the optimistic view. I can’t help but think though that if Voltaire is a champion of civil liberties and individual rights, then abandoning that will mean a lurch toward authoritarianism. We’ll see.

      1. Let’s see. I really hope not but there is a clear move towards more authoritarianism all around the world so you may be right. However, there is also a rise in the opposite so you really never know.

    1. I agree. There’s always a cost to being manipulated – whether it’s in a personal relationship or on a large scale by a wider authority. You can end up complicit and willingly participatory in terrible things.