With its tale of illigitimacy, prison, stardom, exile, love affairs and tireless battles against critic, priest and king, Roger Pearson's brilliant biography brings the father of the Enlightenment vividly to life
Voltaire Almighty provides a lively look at the life and thought of one of the major forces behind the European Enlightenment. A rebel from start to finish (1694 - 1778), Voltaire was an ailing and unwanted bastard child who refused to die; and when he did consent to expire some eighty-four years later, he secured a Christian burial despite a bishop's ban.
During much of his life Voltaire was the toast of society for his plays and verse, but his barbed wit and commitment to human reason got him into trouble. Jailed twice and eventually banished by the King, he was an outspoken critic of religious intolerance and persecution. His personal life was as colourful as his intellectual life. Of independent means and mind, Voltaire never married, but he had long-term affairs with two women: Emilie, who died after giving birth to the child of another lover, and his niece, Marie-Louise, with whom he spent the last twenty-five years of his life. The consummate outsider; a dissenter who craved acceptance while flamboyantly disdaining it; author of countless stories, poems, plays, treatises and tracts, as well as some twenty thousand letters to his friends; Voltaire's long, hyperactive life makes for engaging and entertaining reading.
Roger Pearson is Professor of French at the University of Oxford and a Fellow of Queen's College. He has translated and edited Candide and Other Stories for Oxford World's Classics and is the author of The Fables of Reason: A Study of Voltaire's Contes Philosophiques. His other publications include books on Stendhal and Mallarme.
Biography & Autobiography