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Learn about Voltaire

François-Marie Arouet (1694-1778), known as Voltaire, was a writer, philosopher, poet, dramatist, historian and polemicist of the French Enlightenment. The diversity of his literary output is rivalled only by its abundance: the edition of his complete works currently nearing completion will comprise nearly 200 volumes.

‘The age of Voltaire’ has become synonymous with ‘the Enlightenment’, but although Voltaire’s eminence as a philosophe is self-evident, the precise originality of his thought and writings is less easily defined. In this section, you can explore the story of his life, works and legacy:

        Bust of Voltaire

School of Life: Voltaire – philosopher Alain de Botton has created a short animated video on Voltaire, scripted by Nicholas Cronk:

See also the article by David Williams at the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography.