Voltaire (1694-1778), best remembered as the author of Candide, is one of the central actors -- arguably the defining personality -- of the European Enlightenment. In this Very Short Introduction, Nicholas Cronk explores Voltaire's remarkable career and demonstrates how his thinking is pivotal to our notion and understanding of the Enlightenment.
In a fresh and modern examination of his writings, Cronk examines the nature of Voltaire's literary celebrity, demonstrating the extent to which his work was reactive and practical, and therefore made sense within the broader context of the debates to which he responded. The most famous living author in Europe in the 18th century, Cronk emphasizes Voltaire's skills of "performance" as a writer and his continued relevance today. He concludes by looking not only at Voltaire's impact in literature and philosophy, but also his influence on French political values and modern French politics.
ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.
[a] brilliant new study ... To squeeze Voltaire into a mere 124 pages of text plus notes is quite the achievement. And yet this book is bursting with complex ideas, perspectives and opinions ... Cronk is perfectly placed to present the most up-to-date imaginable overview of Voltaire, and of Voltaire studies ... His Very Short Introductio is the promise of a very long Voltairean legacy yet to come. * Professor Siofra Pierse, Revue Voltaire *
1: The actor
2: The Epicurean
3: The Englishman
4: The scientist
5: The courtier
6: The Swiss exile
7: The patriarch
8: The after-life