Voltaire

Voltaire, born François-Marie Arouet, was a prominent French Enlightenment writer, historian, and philosopher known for his wit, his criticism of Christianity, especially the Roman Catholic Church, and his advocacy of freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and separation of church and state. Voltaire was a prolific writer and is best known for his satirical novella 'Candide'. His works and ideas have had a significant influence on both the French and American revolutions.

Books

This list of books are ONLY the books that have been ranked on the lists that are aggregated on this site. This is not a comprehensive list of all books by this author.

  1. 1. Candide

    "Candide" is a satirical novel that follows the adventures of a young man, Candide, who is living a sheltered life in an Edenic paradise and being indoctrinated with Leibnizian optimism by his mentor. When he is expelled from the paradise for kissing a baron's daughter, he embarks on a journey around the world, witnessing the horrors of war, natural disasters, and human cruelty. Throughout his journey, Candide maintains his optimistic philosophy, despite the constant hardships he faces, ultimately concluding that one must cultivate their own garden, a metaphor for taking control of one's own destiny.

  2. 2. Correspondence

    "Correspondence" is a collection of letters written by a renowned philosopher and writer, providing an intimate insight into his life and thoughts. The book offers an unparalleled glimpse into the author's relationships, conversations, and debates with other leading figures of the Enlightenment era. It also reveals his views on a range of subjects including politics, religion, and literature, making it a rich resource for understanding the intellectual climate of the 18th century.

  3. 3. Zadig

    The book is an Enlightenment-era philosophical novel that follows the adventures of its eponymous hero, a young nobleman in ancient Babylonia. Through a series of misfortunes and experiences, including love, injustice, and chance, the protagonist explores themes of fate, free will, and the search for truth. His journey is marked by encounters with a diverse cast of characters, each representing different aspects of society and human nature. The protagonist's wisdom and observations on human folly and the ironies of life offer a satirical critique of the social and political systems of the day, ultimately advocating for enlightenment and reason over superstition and tyranny.

  4. 4. Letters On England

    The book is a series of essays written in the form of letters that offer a critical examination of various aspects of English society, including its politics, religion, and culture, during the early 18th century. The author, a prominent Enlightenment thinker, contrasts the relative freedom and tolerance he observes in England with the more rigid and hierarchical society of his native country. Through his observations, he praises the English constitutional monarchy, the country's scientific achievements, and its respect for individual liberties, while also reflecting on the nature of trade, the role of the press, and the philosophies of notable English figures. The work is notable for its advocacy of religious tolerance and freedom of thought, and it played a significant role in promoting English ideas to a Continental audience.

  5. 5. The Lisbon Earthquake

    The book in question is a philosophical exploration of the problem of evil, prompted by the catastrophic 1755 earthquake that devastated Lisbon. Through a series of poetic verses, the author grapples with the theological and moral questions raised by such natural disasters, challenging the optimistic belief that this is the best of all possible worlds and questioning the justice of a benevolent deity allowing such suffering. The work is a profound meditation on human suffering, divine providence, and the limits of philosophical and religious consolation in the face of overwhelming disaster.