Works of M de Voltaire Translatedfrom the French with Notes, Historical and Critical by T Smollett, and Others The
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Born in Paris the son of a government official, Francois-Marie Arouet was educated at the College Louis-le-Grand, a Jesuit seminary. He was educated to be a lawyer, but the had no taste for the law. When he was sent to Holland as a diplomat, an unwise love affair caused him to be sent back quickly to France. Shortly after returning, he was charged with writing a scathing satire of the nobility and was sent to prison for 11 months. While there, he assumed the name Voltaire and continued his writing. Throughout his life, Voltaire was a progressive thinker and an opponent of political and religious oppression. He was instrumental in popularizing philosophical, religious, and scientific ideas that were frequently derived from liberal thinkers in England, where he lived for two years after his imprisonment. Probably more than anything else, Voltaire can be characterized as a "liberator," fighting always for man's freedom. Despite his many works of philosophy, plays , and political essays, Voltaire is best known to twentieth-century readers as the author of the novel Candide (1759), a masterpiece of satire on the overly optimistic views of the German philosopher Leibniz, for whom "all is for the best in this best of all possible worlds" Candide, which has been called "a philosophical romance" was made into a musical by American composer and conductor Leonard Bernstein and played successfully in New York City on Broadway.