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Voltaire in Exile by Ian DavidsonIn 1753, Voltaire -- playwright, poet, philosopher, and one of the most fêted figures in Europe -- was forced by Louis XV into exile, where he remained for the last twenty-five years of his life. These years heralded a startling new beginning for this remarkable man. Voltaire carved out a new and vibrant world in his isolation, becoming a successful entrepreneur and writing his masterpiece Candide. In Voltaire in Exile, Ian Davidson re-creates this period in the life of one of the giants of the Enlightenment. By painstakingly translating the rich correspondence between Voltaire and his family, members of the Court at Versailles, and the French intellectual elite, Davidson allows us to discover Voltaire the artist, the campaigner, the aesthete, the lover, the humorist. The result is a wonderfully vivid portrait of this extraordinarily funny, iconoclastic, complex, and, above all, ferociously intelligent individual.
Voltaire and the Theatre of the Eighteenth Century by Marvin A. CarlsonBorn in the final years of the seventeenth century, and dying a decade before the beginning of the French Revolution, Voltaire was a quintessential figure of the eighteenth century, so much so that this era is sometimes called the Age of Voltaire. At a time when French culture dominated Europe, Voltaire dominated French culture. His influence was broad and powerful, and he made major contributions to almost every sphere of intellectual activity, including the sciences, trade and commerce, politics, and especially the arts. Despite the astonishing range of his literary activities, the theatre occupied a central position in his life from the beginning of his career to its close. His first and last literary triumphs were plays, the first written when he was only 17, the last completed when he was 84. He created a total of 56, and there was rarely a time in his life when he was not working on a theatrical script. At the end of his career, his works were produced more frequently on the French stage than those of any other serious dramatist and served as models for aspiring young playwrights throughout Europe. Written by a leading authority on French theatre and culture in the eighteenth century, this book traces the theatrical career of Voltaire from his college days through his final works. The most influential dramatist of the period, he successfully wrote in a number of genres, including tragedy, comedy, opera, comic opera, and court spectacle. His theatrical biography involves all aspects of acting and staging in amateur and society theatre as well as on major professional stages and performances at court. His extended visits to England and Germany are covered in chapters that also provide an introduction to the theatre in those countries, and his international interests and correspondence provide insights into the eighteenth century theatre in places such as Italy, Russia, and Denmark. Due to his literally life-long concern with the theatre, his dominance in this art, and his reputation and involvement with the theatre outside France, Voltaire's theatrical biography is also in large measure a chronicle of the European stage of the eighteenth century.
Voltaire, the Enlightenment and the Comic Mode by Maxine CutlerVoltaire, the Enlightenment and the Comic Mode: Essays in Honor of Jean Sareil pays homage to a distinguished scholar, writer and teacher. The articles, written by eminent European and American scholars, bear on Professor Sareil's central academic interests.
Micromegas and Other Short Fictions by Francois Marie Arouet VoltaireTravelling through strange environments, Voltaire's protagonists are educated, often by surprise, into the complexities and contradictions of their world. Arriving on Earth from the Star Sirius, the gigantic explorer Micromegas discovers a diminutive people with an inflated idea of their own importance in the universe. Babouc in 'The World as It Is' learns that humanity is equally capable of barbarism and remarkable altruism. Other characters in this diverting collection include a little-known god of infidelity, a pretentious graduate who invites a savage to dinner and an Indian fakir who puts up with a bed of nails to gain the adoration of his female disciples. Whether he is exploring the paradoxes of grief, demanding better education for women, or mocking greedy clerics and the Christian ideal of chastity, Voltair is always wonderfully provocative. Above all, he shows that in an uncertain, violent world pity and a desire for justice are our only decent responses.