Biography of Voltaire Voltaire, a French philosopher, novelist, poet, dramatist and historian, was known for his outspoken and audacious approach. Penlighten Staff Last Updated:
He became hugely wealthy by exploiting a flaw in the French lottery. InVoltaire teamed with mathematician Charles Marie de La Condamine and others to exploit a lucrative loophole in the French national lottery.
The government shelled out massive prizes for the contest each month, but an error in calculation meant that the payouts were larger than the value of all the tickets in circulation. With this in mind, Voltaire, La Condamine and a syndicate of other gamblers were able to repeatedly corner the market and rake in massive winnings.
The scheme left Voltaire with a windfall of nearly half a million francs, setting him up for life and allowing him to devote himself solely to his literary career.
He was an extraordinary prolific writer. Voltaire wrote more than 50 plays, dozens of treatises on science, politics and philosophy, and several books of history on everything from the Russian Empire to the French Parliament.
Along the way, he also managed to squeeze in heaps of verse and a voluminous correspondence amounting to some 20, letters to friends and contemporaries.
Voltaire supposedly kept up his prodigious output by spending up to 18 hours a day writing or dictating to secretaries, often while still in bed. He may have also been fueled by heroic amounts of caffeine—according to some sources, he drank as many as 40 cups a day.
Many of his most famous works were banned. Since his writing denigrated everything from organized religion to the justice system, Voltaire ran up against frequent censorship from the French government. A good portion of his work was suppressed, and the authorities even ordered certain books to be burned by the state executioner.
To combat the censors, Voltaire had much of his output printed abroad, and he published under a veil of assumed names and pseudonyms. Despite his best attempts to remain anonymous, Voltaire lived in almost constant fear of arrest. He helped popularize the famous tale about Sir Isaac Newton and the apple.
Though the two never met in person, Voltaire was an enthusiastic acolyte of the English physicist and mathematician Sir Isaac Newton.
He had a brief career as a spy for the French government. Voltaire struck up a lively correspondence with Frederick the Great in the late s, and he later made several journeys to meet the Prussian monarch in person.
Before one of these visits inVoltaire concocted an ill-advised scheme to use his new position to repair his reputation with the French court.
Voltaire proved a lousy spy, however, and his plan quickly fell apart after Frederick grew suspicious of his motives. Their relationship finally soured inafter Voltaire made a series of scathing attacks on the head of the Prussian Academy of Sciences.
Frederick responded by lambasting Voltaire, and ordered that a satirical pamphlet he had written be publically burned. He never married or fathered children.
While Voltaire technically died a bachelor, his personal life was a revolving door of mistresses, paramours and long-term lovers. He set up a successful watchmaking business in his old age.Voltaire (François-Marie Arouet) () François-Marie Arouet (nicknamed ‘Voltaire,’) was a French philosopher, poet, pamphleteer and fiction writer.
Candide, a novel, is the work that has lasted best, still thriving in the modern world. In , Arouet, writing under the pen name Voltaire, published the play Œdipe, and it's success began Voltaire's influence and brought him into the French Enlightenment.
In the following years he gained fame as an outspoken philosopher, essayist, satirist and a critic of established religion. “Voltaire” is the pen name under which French author-philosopher François-Marie Arouet published a number of books and pamphlets in the 18th century.
François Marie Arouet (), known since his youthful literary beginnings solely by his pen name, Voltaire, was the most conspicuous figure of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment and remains a culture hero for the spiritual heirs of that movement all over the world. François-Marie d’Arouet, famous by his pen name Voltaire, was a prominent philosopher of the Enlightenment movement of the Eighteenth century.
Born on November 21 , Voltaire gave remarkable concepts of freedom and enlightenment. He was also a noted historian and an outspoken, witty intellectual of his times.
Francois Marie Arouet (pen name Voltaire) was born on November 21, in Paris. Voltaire's intelligence, wit and style made him one of France's greatest writers and philosophers. Voltaire was the embodiment of the 18th-century Enlightenment.