Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary isn't exactly what one might think of when the word "dictionary" is mentioned. Instead of a long catalog of definitions and terms, this collection is a series of articles and thoughts from one of the Enlightenment's greatest and most subversive thinkers. Actor, Donal Donnelly, with his pleasant lilt, enhances Voltaire's natural wit and satire. Subjects in this collection range from freedom of press to the Roman Catholic Church, of which Voltaire has plenty of humorous and scathing things to say.
Preeminent French cynic and philosopher Voltaire (1694-1778) collected ideas and thoughts that were too short for pamphlets but worth saving for later development. These jottings eventually became the Philosophical Dictionary, filled with witty and wise entries on subjects as diverse as Atheism and Kissing - a compendium of the whole spectrum of Voltaire's ideas. This champion of the Enlightenment's merciless satire, unorthodox views, and enmity to organized religion were a source of irritation to the political and religious authorities of his day.
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I focus on fiction, sci-fi, fantasy, science, history, politics and read a lot. I try to review everything I read.
In the 1700's this would have been really relevant and humorous. Luckily, many of Voltaire's insightful and then controversial ideas are now common wisdom. This leaves this volume as being interesting mostly in the historical sense. I could not recommend it for the humor, philosophical insights, or educational value. I am glad I listened, but this is definitely not for everyone.
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