Discover why intellectuals and historians alike consider Voltaire to be one of the most intriguing, influential, and elusive thinkers of the modern world. Focusing on the deepest, most enduring aspects of Voltaire's work and thought, but never losing sight of the colorful, fascinating man himself, these 12 lectures sketch for you a vibrant, thought-provoking vision of Voltaire as "the father of the Enlightenment" and one of the great literary personalities of all time.
"Enlightenment ideas still relevant today"
Candide and his tutor Pangloss travel the globe trying to follow the philosophy "All is for the best in this, the best of all possible worlds". However, they are stung and let down at every turn, being robbed, tortured, and ridiculed, amongst other trials. On hearing about their often disasterous travels, a listener feels unfortunately less than empathetic, and can't help themselves laughing out loud at this very funny account of the trail our optimistic travellers take.
The Age of Voltaire, the ninth volume of The Story of Civilization, is an in-depth examination of France and England in the first half of the 18th century.
"The Most Exquisite History Series"
When first published in 1759, Candide became an instant best seller and is now regarded as one of the key texts of the Enlightenment. Voltaire’s preoccupations with evil and with various kinds of human folly and intolerance found a perfect vehicle in this philosophical tale. A master storyteller, he combined often wildly entertaining action with profoundly serious sense, parodying the traditional chivalric and oriental tales with which his public was more familiar.
"Guaranteed to keep you smiling if not LOL"
The Enlightenment is looked upon fondly, and it serves to reinforce the notion that the present is superior to the past, but things did not change as rapidly or as completely as many believe. In fact, some recent historians have challenged the belief that the Enlightenment was responsible for the French Revolution, which is a vital issue when it comes to Voltaire. After all, Voltaire, as his contemporaries and as most of his modern listeners know him, is widely regarded as the pinnacle of Enlightenment thought.
Voltaire was a French writer famous for his wit and irony. They were his tools for launching vitriolic attacks on the established Catholic church, the adversaries of freedom of religion and expression, and on separation of church and state. His prolific writing took almost every possible literary form: plays, novels, essays, but also poems, historical and scientific works.
"Candide ou l'Optimisme" est un conte philosophique de Voltaire, considéré comme l'un de ses chefs d'œuvre. C'est le récit du voyage de formation d'un jeune homme naïf, chassé du meilleur des mondes possibles à la suite d'une leçon de physique expérimentale. Voltaire y manie l'ironie à l'encontre du conservatisme de la société de son époque. Candide, le jeune homme innocent, après avoir vécu toutes sortes d'aventures autour du monde, finit par se transformer en philosophe.
Voltaire's razor-sharp satire on philosophical optimism, Candide, is coupled here with another of the author's most celebrated works, Zadig. Both challenge the moral and philosophical orthodoxies of the day with humor and sly wit, while parodying the clichéd formulas of so many contemporary novels.
Voltaire's Candide can only be described as a satirical novella that was intended to attack the optimistic and backwards way of thinking that was common during the 18th century. Filled with absurd and darkly humorous content, the short work is a highly debatable and thought-provoking piece. The story centers around Candide, the nephew of a baron, who's teacher, Pangloss, teaches Candide that the world is the way it should be and that everything in it is good.
Voltaire met ici tous ses talents au service de la justice, après l'exécution de Jean Calas en 1762, dont il est convaincu de l'innocence. Calas est condamné pour le meurtre de son fils qui voulait se convertir au catholicisme. Cette réflexion sur le monde judiciaire reste très actuelle quant à la responsabilité des juges et la présomption d'innocence.
In the tradition of his very popular Candide, Zadig is what might be called a "philosophical tale." Zadig, a handsome young man with a fine education, is puzzled by the uncertainties of his destiny. He attains great success in government but is unsuccessful in love. Despite his wisdom and shrewdness, he meets with a number of misfortunes. The central question of the story is, "Why do bad things happen to good people?"
Tomandole el pelo a la humanidad. La vision del mundo que tuvo Voltaire debio haber sido muy risuena, ya que su obra es un conjunto de ironias y de humor que va de lo escabroso a lo filosofico. Lo notable es que todo esto estuvo al servicio de ideas, en las cuales el tono satirico sirivieron para encauzar y ensenar al mundo hacia algo mejor.
Alongside the Renaissance, the Enlightenment is credited with the transition to an adherence to reason, secularism, and promotion of values such as the value of the individual, collective freedom, and liberty. At the heart of the movement in France was François-Marie Arouet, better known by the pen name Voltaire, whose writings advocated for greater liberalism, including freedom of religion and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a biting polemic whose satirical attacks on the Catholic Church were among the fiercest of his day.
The story follows the eponymous hero and his tutor Doctor Pangloss through a series of adventures and misfortunes, all the time doggedly attempting, against the odds, to adhere to the doctor's philosophy that "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds".
"Best possible reading of this best possible story"
"Zadig ou la Destinée" est le conte philosophique majeur de Voltaire. C'est à la fois un concentré d'humour, une critique au vitriol de la société du XVIIIe, et une réflexion cruciale sur ce que cela signifie d'être heureux. Le jeune Zadig a en effet tout pour l'être : il est beau, riche et vertueux, et s'apprête à épouser la plus belle de Babylone. Mais la destinée a d'autres plans en réserve, et notre jeune philosophe apprendra à ses dépens que le bonheur ne dépend pas uniquement de nous.
Candide est un jeune garçon vivant au château du baron de Thunderten-tronckh qui se trouve en Westphalie. Il a pour maître Pangloss, philosophe qui enseigne la "métaphysico-théologo-cosmolonigologie", et qui professait, à l'instar de Leibniz, que l'on vit dans le meilleur des mondes possibles.
First published in 1752, "Micromegas" is one of Voltaire’s best-known works. It is a tale of mordant irony, and actually the original science-fiction short story. Arriving on Earth from the star Sirius, the gigantic explorer Micromegas discovers the people of Earth, so small compared to him that he first believes that no creature this size can hope to achieve any degree of intelligence; he will soon discover the ways and thoughts of these diminutive people, who clearly have an over-inflated idea of their own importance in the universe. Voltaire's extrapolations of sun-powered interstellar flight, alien civilizations, and the two moons of Mars, are designed to make us see ourselves in a new light and laugh at what we find.
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 speech, 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.
In the great ferment of the French Revolution, Voltaire and Rousseau stood out as intellectual giants. Voltaire's incisive wit and commitment to translucent reason stands in sharp contrast to Rousseau's earnest convictions and attention to emotion. Both thinkers produced work of enduring value in morality and political philosophy.