World History/ Voltaire Francois Marie Arouet term paper 14105

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Voltaire Francois Marie Arouet (pen name Voltaire) was born on November

21, 1694 in Paris. Voltaire's style, wit, intelligence and keen sense of justice

made him one of France's greatest writers and philosophers. Young Francois

Marie received an excellent education at a Jesuit school. He left school at 16

and soon formed friendships with a group of sophisticated Parisian aristocrats.

Paris society sought his company for his cleverness, humor and remarkable

ability to write verse. In 1717 he was arrested for writing a series of satirical

verses ridiculing the French government, and was imprisoned in the Bastille.

During his eleven months in prison he wrote his first major play, "Oedipe,"

which achieved great success in 1718. He adopted his pen name "Voltaire" the

same year. In 1726 Voltaire insulted a powerful young nobleman and was

given two options: imprisonment or exile. He chose exile and from 1726 to 1729

lived in England. While in England Voltaire was attracted to the philosophy of

John Locke and ideas of the great scientist Sir Isaac Newton. After his return

to Paris he wrote a book praising English customs and institutions. The book

was thought to criticize the French government and Voltaire was forced to flee

Paris again. In 1759 Voltaire purchased an estate called "Ferney" near the

French-Swiss border where he lived until just before of his death. Ferney soon

became the intellectual capitol of Europe. Throughout his years in exile Voltaire

produced a constant flow of books, plays, pamphlets, and letters. He was a

voice of reason, and an outspoken critic of religious intolerance and

persecution. Voltaire returned to a hero's welcome in Paris at age 83. The

excitement of the trip was too much for him and he died in Paris. Because of

his criticism of the church Voltaire was denied burial in church ground. He was

finally buried at an abbey in Champagne. In 1791 his remains were moved to a

resting place at the Pantheon in Paris. Voltaire was famous during the

enlightenment for his satirical writings about major issues. He was loved by

supporters of the enlightenment, but he was hated by some who didnt see the

genius in his satires. He had a unique point of view on things that few could see

at that time.

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