Voltaire Facts

Voltaire Facts
Voltaire, was an 18th century writer and philosopher who became famous as a French Enlightenment writer. Voltaire was born François-Marie Arouet on November 19th, 1694, in Paris, France to François Arouet, a lawyer, and Marie Marguerite Daumard, a French noblewoman. In 1704 while attending secondary school at Collége Louis-le-Grand in Paris, he had already begun to show promise as a writer. His father wanted him to become a lawyer but he chose to pursue writing. He used his satirical writing to critique the government, which landed him in prison (the Bastille). While there he adopted the name Voltaire, an anagram of the Latin spelling of his last name. Despite being jailed more than once for his writing, Voltaire continued to write philosophical works, plays, poetry, and historical works.
Interesting Voltaire Facts:
Voltaire spent a year in the Bastille (French prison) after a brief exile from Paris, because he could not contain his love for writing scandalous verse. He wrote a poem that implied scandalous behaviour from the regent, that he had an inappropriate relationship with his daughter.
In 1729 Voltaire and a mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine figured out how to win money in the French National Lottery, a monthly draw. It was a loophole that resulted in Voltaire amassing half a million francs, making it possible for him to focus on writing for the rest of his life.
One of Voltaire's most famous works was a book titled Candide, published in 1759. It was a satirical novel that brought him success and inspired scandal as well. It was banned for its humorous and satirical look at religion and politics.
Voltaire wrote a tremendous amount. He wrote more than 50 plays, more than 20,000 letters and verse, several history books, and dozens of treatises.
Voltaire was said to have written as much as 18 hours each day. In some instances he dictated to secretaries, sometimes from his bed.
Voltaire is rumoured to have drank as many as 40 cups of coffee a day, which would explain his ability to write as many as 18 hours a day.
In 1734 Voltaire released Letters Concerning the English Nation, which resulted in him fleeing to the countryside in France.
Voltaire was a big supporter of Sir Isaac Newton and even helped to make the apple tale more popular. Although Voltaire was not the first to make the reference to the moment Newton discovered gravity, he was a big part in making the story well-known.
In the 1730s Voltaire met Frederick the Great, the Prussian monarch, and spent a brief period working as a French spy.
Voltaire never married but later in life he and his niece adopted a young woman and he referred to himself as her parent.
Voltaire became fluent in five languages in his lifetime.
Major plays written by Voltaire include Oedipus, Mariamne, Zaire, Mahomet, and Nanine.
Philosophical works by Voltaire include Plato's Dream, Candide, and Micromegas.
Voltaire died on May 30th, 1778 at the age of 78. He died in his sleep. By the time of his death the French opinion had changed to regard Voltaire as a literary genius.

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